Danny Masterson has decided not to take the stand in his rape trial.
The former That ’70s Show star told Judge Charlaine Olemedo today that, after discussions with his legal team, he would not testifying his own defense.
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With the prosecution concluding its case after almost a month of testimony and the Phillip Cohen-led defense opting to call no witnesses, closing arguments are penciled in to start Tuesday. After that, the matter of three counts of forcible rape will go to the jury for deliberations.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Olemdo has long said she hoped to have the DTLA trial resolved before the start of of Thanksgiving week — a target she looks pretty set to hit at this point.
First arrested in 2020 and free on just over a $3 million bail, Masterson is looking at a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in California state prison if found guilty. The actor, who subsequently was fired from Netflix’s comedy The Ranch at the end of 2017 as claims became known, always has denied he had nonconsensual sex between 2001 and 2003 with the alleged victims or anyone else ever.
The trio of Jane Does took the stand in the trial, as did a fourth alleged victim last week. Unlike the three Jane Does in the case and Masterson himself, Jane Doe #4 never been a Scientologist. Former prominent Scientologist Lisa Marie Presley was on the prosecution witness list, but Deputy DA Reinhold Mueller chose on November 9 not to call the rock scion after Judge Olemdo severely limited the scope of her possible testimony.
As well as this criminal case, there also is a currently paused civil case that the three alleged victims in Masterson rape trial and others filed in 2019 against the Church of Scientology and the actor. It claims that the ex-Scientology plaintiffs have been harassed, stalked and even saw pets killed by the church and church affiliates for going to the LAPD with their allegations against Masterson.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Supreme Court last month rejected Scientology’s petition to take up the suit after a California appellate court earlier this year ruled that the ex-church members had a First Amendment right to not be held to the stipulations of a religious organizations once they have left.
Another LASC judge ruled that the civil trial could resume in mid-December, one the criminal trial is over.
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