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As many of us watched the events at the U.S. Capitol, the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, on Wednesday, a lawyer for That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson was entering a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Masterson, who did not attend the hearing, is charged with raping three women by force at his Hollywood Hills home in the early 2000s. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said additional women came forward with similar allegations, but Masterson was not charged due to insufficient evidence and the statute of limitations. After being arrested and released on bail in June, he faces up to 45 years to life in prison if convicted.
Masterson has denied any wrongdoing. His attorney did not immediately respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
Just last month, there was a development in the civil lawsuit that four women and one of their husbands — Chrissie Carnell Bixler and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Marie Bobette Riales and two Jane Does — brought against Masterson, the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, for allegedly stalking them after the women made the sexual assault allegations. A judge said that three of the women would have their cases resolved through religious arbitration with the church, per the contract they signed when they became Scientologists. The case of Riales, who is not a member of the church, will be decided at a later date.
Masterson’s attorney in that lawsuit, Andrew Brettler, praised the recent decision as “absolutely the correct result” in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment. “We look forward to arbitrating the claims, as the Court directed.” Masterson himself previously called the lawsuit “beyond ridiculous.”
A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International rejected the premise of the lawsuit. “From everything we have read in the press,” a Scientology rep told E! News in August 2019, “this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere because the claims are ludicrous and a sham. It's a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. [Former church member] Leah Remini is taking advantage of these people as pawns in her moneymaking scam.”
Masterson was fired from the Netflix show The Ranch as a result of the allegations in December 2017.
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