The jury in the Danny Masterson rape trial told the judge on Friday that it could not reach a verdict.
However, Judge Charlaine Olmedo said that the jurors have not deliberated long enough to declare a mistrial. She ordered the jury to resume deliberations on Nov. 28, after taking a week off for Thanksgiving.
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Masterson, 46, faces charges of forcibly raping three woman at his home in the Hollywood Hills from 2001 to 2003. The charges carry a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.
In a note to the judge, the jurors said they are “unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the counts.”
The jury has been deliberating for nearly three days. No indication was given as to the breakdown of the vote.
Defense attorney Philip Cohen argued that the jury has had enough time, and suggested that the judge question the panel about whether anything might resolve the deadlock. Olmedo said that not enough time had passed to take that step.
Cohen also said he was worried that the jurors might read something or talk with relatives about the case over the Thanksgiving break.
“It really does come down to a simple analysis — do you believe the women or do you not,” Cohen said. “It just seems like there’s significant disagreement on what the evidence demonstrates.”
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller argued that Masterson, who was a star of “That ’70s Show,” had a sense of entitlement due to his success as an actor and his high status within the Church of Scientology. All three women took the stand, alleging in often emotional testimony that Masterson raped them while they were either asleep or intoxicated.
The women were Scientologists at the time of the incidents and have alleged that their faith made it hard for them to think of the assaults as “rape” until later. Two of the women also alleged that they were threatened with excommunication from the church if they went to the police.
On Thursday, the jury asked for readback of testimony from Jane Doe #1, in which she spoke about a phone call with Masterson after the alleged assault. She has testified that she asked Masterson what happened, and that he had answered that “We had a good time.”
On cross-examination, Cohen suggested that Jane Doe #1 had asked that because she did not know what happened. She responded that she knew, but did not want to admit it to herself.
“I needed it not to be true,” she said.
In his closing argument, Cohen said that the accusers’ accounts were riddled with “contradictions and fabrications.” He argued that the prosecution should have dropped the charges once the inconsistencies in the women’s accounts came to light.
“This case has been maddening for me,” Cohen said in his closing argument.
Cohen also noted that Scientology had come up more than 700 times in the case.
“We’ve heard Scientology over and over and over again – so much so it became the go-to excuse,” Cohen argued. “When someone didn’t remember something or someone got contradicted, it became about Scientology.”
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