A lawyer for That ’70s Present actor Danny Masterson pleaded not responsible on his behalf Wednesday to the rapes of three ladies within the early 2000s.
Defence lawyer Tom Mesereau entered the plea for Masterson, who was not current in court docket, to 3 expenses of rape by power or worry in Los Angeles County Superior Court docket.
The regularly delayed listening to coincided with the inauguration in Washington of President-elect Joe Biden, leading to far much less media consideration than Masterson’s preliminary court docket look in June. His arraignment has been postponed a number of instances since.
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Prosecutors have alleged that Masterson, 44, who has been free on bond since his June 17 arrest, raped a 23-year-old lady someday in 2001, a 28-year-old lady in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old lady between October and December of 2003. The entire alleged rapes occurred at his Hollywood Hills house.
Masterson may withstand 45 years in jail if convicted.
Mesereau, whose earlier shoppers have included Michael Jackson and Invoice Cosby, mentioned in court docket in June that the costs have been the results of unfair hype from media retailers and political stress to prosecute his consumer. The lawyer mentioned his workforce would show that Masterson shouldn’t be responsible.
Masterson’s arrest got here after a three-year investigation that resulted within the uncommon prosecution of a well-known Hollywood determine within the #MeToo period. Regardless of dozens of investigations, most have led to no expenses based mostly on lack of proof or an excessive amount of time having handed because the alleged sexual assaults.
The ladies who’ve accused Masterson of sexual misconduct claimed they’ve suffered “harassment, embarrassment and re-victimization” by the actor and the Church of Scientology, of which he’s a member, since Masterson and the church realized they have been “co-operating with authorities.”
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“We’re grateful that the Los Angeles County District Legal professional’s workplace is lastly in search of legal justice in opposition to Masterson,” they mentioned collectively in a press release. “We’re assured that the reality shall be recognized and hope that the costs filed immediately are the primary steps on this lengthy journey of therapeutic, justice and holding those who victimized us accountable.”
In 2017, actor Leah Remini, a former member of the Church of Scientology, accused the Los Angeles Police Division of masking up Masterson’s investigation so as to appease Scientology leaders.
Months later, Remini continued to talk out in opposition to Masterson, and the finale episode of her Emmy-winning sequence Scientology and the Aftermath was supposed to incorporate two of the 4 ladies who accused Masterson of sexual assault, however that episode was reportedly shelved in February 2019.
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After months of back-and-forth, Remini’s two-hour particular, titled Ready for Justice, aired in August 2019. She interviewed Masterson’s accusers about their experiences with the previous The Ranch actor and condemned the Church of Scientology, alleging it was defending him from justice.
Masterson was fired from the Netflix sequence The Ranch and quietly dropped by his former expertise company, United Expertise Company (UTA), after the LAPD confirmed it was investigating sexual assault allegations in opposition to him from a number of ladies in 2016 and 2017.
“I’m clearly very disillusioned in Netflix’s determination to put in writing my character off of The Ranch,” the actor wrote in a press release on the time of his firing.
“From Day 1, I’ve denied the outrageous allegations in opposition to me. I’ve by no means been charged with against the law, not to mention convicted of 1.
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“On this nation, you might be presumed harmless till confirmed responsible. Nonetheless, within the present local weather, it appears as in case you are presumed responsible the second you might be accused. I perceive and sit up for clearing my title as soon as and for all.”
A litigation lawyer for the Church of Scientology additionally launched a press release in August 2019 calling the lawsuit “a sham.”
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“From all the pieces now we have learn within the press, this baseless lawsuit will go nowhere as a result of the claims are ludicrous and a sham,” the assertion learn. “It’s a dishonest and hallucinatory publicity stunt. Leah Remini is benefiting from these individuals as pawns in her money-making rip-off.”
The alleged rapes occurred on the peak of Masterson’s fame, when he starred as Steven Hyde on Fox TV’s retro sitcom That ’70s Present from 1998 to 2006 alongside Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace.
— With recordsdata from Chris Jancelewicz
In the event you or somebody you realize is experiencing abuse or is concerned in an abusive scenario, please go to the Canadian Useful resource Centre for Victims of Crime for assist. They’re additionally reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
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