A fourth accuser told jurors on Wednesday morning that she fell asleep on the floor of Danny Masterson’s home in 1996, and later awoke to find him on top of her, having sex with her.
Masterson, the onetime star of “That ’70s Show,” is on trial in Los Angeles for allegedly raping three women from 2001 to 2003. The fourth accuser, identified in court as Tricia V., was called by the prosecution to reinforce the charges and show a pattern of misconduct.
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Philip Cohen, Masterson’s defense lawyer, had strenuously objected to allowing her to testify. Judge Charlaine Olmedo initially excluded her from the trial but reversed herself in a ruling on Monday, saying that Cohen’s arguments had “opened the door” to the testimony.
At a lunch break, Cohen vented his frustration over Tricia V.’s testimony, and said that prosecutor Reinhold Mueller had strayed into some areas that were supposed to be off limits.
“Their case has so many problems,” Cohen said. “There’s zero credibility on the three Jane Does, objectively. This is how it’s going to be saved.”
Olmedo admonished Cohen that relitigating the issue was starting to become “disrespectful to the court’s rulings.” She denied Cohen’s latest request for a mistrial, which he has also made on several other occasions.
In her testimony, Tricia V. told jurors that she worked on a film with Masterson and went to his home with some other people after the wrap party. She had a few drinks and smoked some marijuana, and so she and others decided to sleep at the Masterson’s house. At some point in the night, she said Masterson woke her up and brought her into his room.
She remembered waking up with Masterson penetrating her. She said she was disoriented, and couldn’t process what was happening, and then lost consciousness.
She said she woke up naked the next morning in Masterson’s bed.
“Danny woke up, and he was just smiling at me,” she said. “And in a way that sort of was very confusing to me… as if we were on a date or something sweet.”
She said she gathered up her clothes and a friend took her home. She became emotional at a couple of points in her testimony, saying she never expected that to happen.
“I didn’t like him, and I didn’t think that he even liked me, and I just didn’t know how to process it,” she said. “I was upset by what had happened but I didn’t know how to categorize it. I definitely felt a deep shame, and disrespected, because I thought I was hanging out with my castmates, and maybe friends.”
“I just didn’t think that was on the table,” she said. “I was disturbed, but I didn’t know how to cope with it… I just stopped being able to think about it.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Tricia V. testified about a second alleged rape that took place about a month later. She testified that Masterson came to her home unannounced, and gave her a flask to drink. She said that they went into her bedroom, where she began to feel intoxicated. She said that Masterson began to take her pants off, and she said she didn’t want to have sex with him.
“He was laughing and just continued on,” she said. “I was telling him to stop, but I was also telling him that he didn’t have a condom on…. I remember him saying diseases are in the mind.”
She said that after that, she went unconscious and didn’t remember anything happening until the following morning.
She testified that she did not tell anyone about the incidents until more than 20 years later, when she revealed it to one of the other accusers in the case. Unlike the other three accusers, Tricia V. has never been a Scientologist. She is also not involved in the civil suit the accusers have filed against Masterson and the Church of Scientology.
Another accuser, identified in court as Christina B., told the jury last month that she began dating Masterson in 1996. She testified that he would often have sex with her while she was asleep. On one such occasion in November 2001, she alleged that she tried to fight Masterson off, and that he hit her in the face.
She testified that on a subsequent occasion, she blacked out after going with Masterson to a restaurant. She remembered waking up the next morning with pain in her rear end, and said that Masterson told her he had sex with her there and laughed at her.
On Wednesday, prosecutors showed the jury a video of a police interview in which she recounted that event. Cohen has noted that Christina B. did not initially tell the police about the November 2001 incident — which is the subject of one of the three charges in the case — and has suggested that it did not occur.
Tricia V.’s account also echoed the testimony of Jane Doe #1, who testified that Masterson prepared her a drink at his home, and that she quickly became nauseous and disoriented. She said that Masterson later brought her up to his room and raped her. Jane Doe #2 also testified that Masterson raped her after giving her a drink at his home.
Like the other women, Tricia V. said she had been subjected to harassment and intimidation since first reporting Masterson to the police in 2019.
Mueller also said Wednesday that he would not call Lisa Marie Presley, who had been on the prosecution’s witness list. Jane Doe #1 had testified that she told Presley about an earlier sexual encounter with Masterson that occurred in September 2002.
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