Mistrial Declared in Danny Masterson Rape Trial Due to Deadlocked Jury

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Danny Masterson
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT

Danny Masterson's rape trial in Los Angeles has been declared a mistrial by the presiding judge.

The That '70s Show star appeared before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo on Wednesday, after days of deliberation by the jury, who told Judge Olmedo that they could not come to a consensus regarding their verdict, according to multiplereports.

The jury -- comprised of seven women and five men -- began deliberations on Nov. 15, after a fiery day of closing arguments, in which Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller urged the jury to show Masterson "that no actually means no."

Meanwhile, Masterson's attorney, Phillip Cohen, sought to undermine the prosecution's narrative that his client's a "monster" by reminding the jury that one of the alleged victims, a former girlfriend, said she had consensual sex with the actor after alleging he raped her. 

"I get the theme: Paint Danny as a monster," Cohen said, per The Associated Press. "But when you look at the actual testimony, it tells us something different. This is the problem when you start veering from the truth."

The jury first informed Judge Olmedo on Nov. 18 that they were deadlocked, and the judge told them to take the week of Thanksgiving off. Deliberations resumed on Monday, but the jury remained deadlocked.

Judge Olmedo set a retrial date for March 27, as reported by journalist Tony Ortega on Twitter. Masterson will remain free on a $3.3 million bond.

The mistrial comes nearly three years after Masterson was ordered to stand trial on charges that he raped three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. At the time, the judge said she "found all three witnesses to be credible and the evidence sufficient to support the charges."

Masterson, who pleaded not guilty to three counts of forcible rape, was accused of raping a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. According to Mueller, the actor was also accused of raping a 28- and 23-year-old woman he allegedly invited to his home sometime between October and December 2003. All three women reportedly were former members of the Church of Scientology, to which the actor still belongs.

The actor was ultimately arrested on June 17, 2020 and released three hours later after posting $3.3 million bail. If convicted, he faces up to 45 years behind bars in state prison.

During his trial, a fourth woman testified against Masterson, claiming he raped her twice. The woman, only identified as Jane Doe #4 in court, claimed the incident occurred more than two decades ago after they had met on a movie set. There are no criminal charges stemming from the fourth woman's claims.

Attorneys for Masterson, who on the 19th day of the trial asserted his right not to testify, made numerous requests for a mistrial, but the judge rebuffed those requests each time. Masterson's defense team then sought to block the fourth woman from testifying against the actor, but the judge allowed it after prosecutors said the fourth woman had also spoken to police about the allegations.

Also during the trial, two of the accusers claimed they told Scientology officials they had been raped, but the women claimed church officials gave them the cold shoulder. According to NBC News, Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw denied the claims, insisting the church requires members to "abide by all the laws of the land."

The sexual assault accusations first surfaced in 2017, following a report that Masterson was the subject of an LAPD investigation. Masterson would later release a lengthy statement claiming, among other things, that the women only came forward with their accusations after they were contacted by Leah Remini, a former member of the Church of Scientology and driver behind the A&E docuseriesLeah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which aimed to shed light on the church.

Just months after the LAPD confirmed the sexual assault allegations probe, Masterson was fired from his Netflix series The Ranch in December 2017. 

Masterson and the Church of Scientology, along with church leader David Miscavige, were then sued in August 2019 by the alleged rape victims, claiming they were victims of a harassment campaign that started after they came forward with their accusations against the actor. The lawsuit's still active and ongoing. 

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