Will actor Danny Masterson face another trial?

Posted at 6:35 AM, January 4, 2023 and last updated 7:02 AM, January 11, 2023

By Court TV Staff

LOS ANGELES (Court TV) — Prosecutors have declared they will retry their case against “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson.

In November, Judge Charlaine Olmedo declared a mistrial in Masterson’s triple rape trial after jurors deadlocked. The jury of six men and six women stated they were “not even close” to coming to a decision on any of the counts and were convinced this would not change. Deliberations lasted for approximately five days after a 16-day trial.

On Jan. 10, “The LA County District Attorney’s Office declared prosecutors’ plans in court filings and at a hearing to retry Masterson, where Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo rejected a defense motion to dismiss the charges,” reports The Associated Press.

Here’s a look back at key testimony from Masterson’s first trial, where he faced three charges of forcible rape, and how the jury was leaning.

JANE DOE #1

Danny Masterson

A woman broke down on the witness stand Wednesday, Oct. 19, while giving graphic testimony about a 2003 night she said she emerged from unconsciousness to find actor Danny Masterson raping her.  (Mona Shafer Edwards)

For count one, Jane Doe No. 1 testified to the jury what she could remember the night of April 25, 2003. She said she remembers Masterson handing her a tumbler-size drink with vodka and fruit punch, then later, amongst her memory “bubbles,” waking up to Masterson having sex with her in his upstairs bedroom. She said she told him to “get off,” and then struggled to wiggle away as Masterson tried to choke her with a pillow, before pulling out a gun. She also said she subsequently wrote up a report under the guidance of an ethics officer from the Church of Scientology. She said it was this officer who told her to remove the word “rape” and any mention of a gun. In the report filed with the Hollywood Police Department, the presence of a gun was not detailed. In part of her testimony, she admitted that she later met with an attorney for the Church of Scientology and signed an NDA in exchange for payments in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ultimately, two jurors found Masterson guilty of this charge while 10 found him not guilty.

JANE DOE #2

For count two, Jane Doe No. 2 testified to a time between October to the end of December 2003 where Masterson invited her over to his place. She said while she was there, she had one to two glasses of red wine and later, her memory started to come and go. She said, from what she remembers, she was in Masterson’s jacuzzi and then later in his upstairs shower. Throughout the night she repeatedly told him that she didn’t want to have sex, and yet, when they were in the shower, he proceeded to have sex with her. She said when this happened, she immediately reminded him that she had told him no. But then later, she found herself in his bed. Together they began to kiss. Then Masterson had sex without her consent again.

Actor Danny Masterson leaves Los Angeles superior Court with his wife Bijou Phillips after a judge declared a mistrial in his rape case in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. Jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked at the trial of “That ’70s Show” actor who was charged with the rape of three women, including a former girlfriend, between 2001 and 2003. (AP Photo/Brian Melley)

To put things into context, she detailed her ongoing struggles with anxiety and how, on this night, she efforted to manage the ongoing situation in her head. She said she thought to herself, “maybe I can control this part” and “maybe this will be enough for him.” Though, she described him as “commanding” and her fear overtook her ability to really assert herself.  For this forcible rape charge, four from the jury found Masterson guilty, while eight found him not guilty.

In the middle of her testimony, she was questioned on whether or not she was aware that speaking to the other Jane Does in the case, prior to trial, could affect her credibility. She said that she was, then admitted that she had, in fact, spoken with them. She explained that she mistrusted the officers on the case. She said, “I let them [the Jane Does] know, something was up, something was wrong, we were all confused about a few things, and we were worried about corruption.” She added that the intention was to support each other, and not to share testimony ahead of the trial.

JANE DOE #3

For count three, Jane Doe No. 3 testified to a time between January and November 2001 when she was sleeping and woke up to Masterson, her then-boyfriend, having sex with her. She said she told him “No,” that she didn’t want to have sex but that he wouldn’t stop. When she tried to push him off, she said he pressed his bodyweight against hers and used his arms to hold her arms down. When she was able to get one of her arms free, she pulled on his hair to which he responded with a hit to her face with a loosely-closed fist.

She said the Church of Scientology told her that “you cannot rape someone you’re in a relationship with,” and that it was her job to give Masterson sex whenever he wanted since, at the time, he was supporting her. When she left Masterson, she said she met with a representative of the church to go over the terms of their breakup. This included her not suing Masterson. Later, in 2002 and 2003, she and Masterson reconnected and proceeded to have consensual sex. It wasn’t until 2016, after she had married her current husband, that she found out she had been raped and subsequently went to police to report this. In listening to her story, five from the jury found Masterson guilty, while seven found him not guilty.

 

POST-MISTRIAL STATEMENTS

In response to the mistrial, Jane Doe No. 2 and Jane Doe No. 3 released a statement saying in part, “We are obviously disappointed that, at least for the time being, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal accountability for his deplorable acts…This legal fight is far from over, and it is critical that we reckon with Scientology’s alleged role in covering up reports of abuse and threatening victims.”

Masterson’s defense attorney also spoke out. He turned his attention to the Jane Does’ credibility, “This is a jury that went through, literally, each bit of testimony and I think had some very heartfelt and significant discussions about credibility. And to hear 10 for not guilty, and eight for not guilty, and seven for not guilty, speaks volumes.”

This story has been updated to reflect the LA County District Attorney’s Office had declared they will retry actor Danny Masterson on three rape counts.

MORE NEWS