Danny Masterson's Arraignment Pushed to 2021 as Lawyer Claims Rape Case Is 'Politically Motivated'

Natalie Stone
·3 min read

Danny Masterson's arraignment for his rape case has once again been pushed.

On Monday, the former That '70s Show star's attorney Thomas Mesereau appeared before a Los Angeles judge, who agreed to postpone Masterson's arraignment to Jan. 6, according to New York Daily News.

Masterson, who was charged in June with raping three women in separate incidents occurring between 2001 and 2003 (he denies the allegations), did not appear in court alongside his lawyer.

“We think this case has already had enough publicity sufficient to prejudice any jury pool that might have to be picked at some point,” said Mesereau, who asked that media outlets be removed from the courtroom before the hearing, New York Daily News reports.

“There’s been politics behind the case, in our opinion,” Mesereau said. “We think it’s a politically motivated case.”

PEOPLE is out to Mesereau for comment.

RELATED: Danny Masterson's Rape Case Will Move Forward, Judge Rules, Rejecting Defense Motion

In mid-October, a Los Angeles judge ruled that the actor's case would move forward.

During the hearing, the judge rejected a defense argument that the case should be thrown out because the alleged rapes occurred outside the statute of limitations, Variety reported. According to Deadline, the judge also rejected a move by the defense to keep the media out of the courtroom.

At the time, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office told PEOPLE: "Arraignment was continued until November 2 and a judge denied a defense motion."

Masterson, who has not yet entered a plea in the case, remains free on $3.3 million bail and did not attend the October hearing. He previously appeared in court during a hearing in September.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced on June 17 that Masterson had been charged with three counts of rape by force or fear. Prosecutors allege Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001; a 28-year-old woman in April 2003; and a 23-year-old woman between October and December 2003. All of the alleged crimes occurred at Masterson's home, according to the prosecution.

If found guilty, the actor could face a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison.

RELATED: Danny Masterson Appears in Court as He Faces 3 Rape Charges

Masterson, who has been married to actress and model Bijou Phillips since 2011, has denied the allegations.

"Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we're confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify," Mesereau said in a statement in June. "Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false."

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.