Actor Danny Masterson found guilty of 2 counts of rape in Los Angeles retrial, months after jurors couldn't come to a unanimous decision in first trial

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  • On Wednesday, a Los Angeles jury found actor Danny Masterson guilty on 2 charges of rape.

  • It was a retrial after the last one ended with a mistrial in late November 2022.

  • Four women testified Masterson raped them, and three said the Church of Scientology silenced them.

A Los Angeles jury convicted"That 70's Show" actor Danny Masterson of two counts of rape on Wednesday, in a re-trial of an explosive case.

Jurors deliberated for close to 8 days — longer than the first trial — finding that Masterson was guilty of two counts of rape against two women. Masterson's wife Bijou Phillips sobbed audibly when the verdict was announced, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Jurors were hung on a third count of rape, according to the Times. Last year, during Masterson's first trial, on November 30, jurors couldn't come to a unanimous conclusion on any of the three charges.

This time around, prosecutors relied more on the argument that Masterson had drugged the women he raped, per The Associated Press.

Masterson faces up to 30 years in prison at a later sentencing date, according to NBC News.

Over the course of both trials, three charging witnesses — all former Scientologists — testified that Masterson, a prominent Scientologist, raped them between 2001 and 2003, and that Scientology later silenced their accusations.

In the re-trial, jurors found Masterson guilty of raping Jane Doe 1, as well as Jane Doe 2.

"I am experiencing a complex array of emotions – relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness – knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior," Jane Doe 2 said in a statement sent to Insider. "I am disappointed that he was not convicted on all counts, but take great solace in the fact that he, the Church of Scientology, and others, will have to fully account for their abhorrent actions in civil court."

According to Deadline, a fourth woman who alleged that Masterson raped her in Toronto in 2000 testified as a prior bad acts witness.

Since the rape allegations against Masterson became public in 2017, Masterson and his legal team have denied them, calling them "outrageous." He pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges brought by the Los Angeles District Attorney in 2020.

The retrial tailed key elements of the last trial, with the women delivering pained testimony about traumatic incidents with Masterson and the invisible hand of the Church of Scientology. Throughout the two trials, the Church of Scientology has vehemently denied the allegations and any involvement.

"There is no truth to the allegations about the Church. The District Attorney is shamefully centering his prosecution on the defendant's religion. With regard to the Church, the DA has elicited answers from the Jane Does and had them state as fact allegations about the Church — which are categorically untrue," spokesperson Karin Pouw told Insider last year.

Philip Cohen, Masterson's defense attorney, centered on alleged "inconsistencies" in the women's stories, and the timeline of their allegations. Powerhouse attorney Shawn Holley also served as co-counsel on Masterson's team in the retrial.

Jurors were hung 8-4 on the rape count related to Jane Doe 3, Masterson's ex-girlfriend, per the Times.

"I thank the jury for its service, and while I'm encouraged that Danny Masterson will face some criminal punishment, I am devastated that he has dodged criminal accountability for his heinous conduct against me," Jane Doe 3 said in a statement. "Despite my disappointment in this outcome, I remain determined to secure justice, including in civil court, where I, along with my co-plaintiffs, will shine a light on how Scientology and other conspirators enabled and sought to cover up Masterson's monstrous behavior."

The three accusers from Masterson's criminal case have a paused civil suit filed in 2019 which lists Scientology as a defendant, alleging that the Church has harassed and stalked them since Los Angeles Police started investigating Masterson in 2016.

The accounts in the civil lawsuit led to three criminal charges of forcible rape filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in 2020.

Read the original article on Insider