Prosecutors to retry actor Danny Masterson on rape counts
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles prosecutors will retry “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson on three rape counts after a hopelessly deadlocked jury led to a mistrial in his first trial in November.
The LA County District Attorney’s Office declared prosecutors’ plans in court filings and at a Tuesday hearing, where Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo rejected a defense motion to dismiss the charges.
The move comes despite prosecutors failing to get even half of the previous jury to vote to convict on any of the counts against Masterson, who is charged with the rape of three women, including a former girlfriend, at his home between 2001 and 2003.
“We are pleased that Danny Masterson will not be permitted to simply escape criminal accountability,” two of the three women and the husband of one said in a joint statement released through their attorneys. “Despite suffering years of intimidation and harassment, we are completely committed to participating in the next criminal trial.”
The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they have been sexually abused.
The judge tentatively set the retrial to begin in late March.
The 46-year-old Masterson had no comment to reporters outside court after Tuesday’s hearing, and his attorney did not respond to an email requesting comment.
He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer has said the acts were all consensual.
The Church of Scientology played a major role during the monthlong trial, with Masterson a member and all three women former members. Prosecutors said the church dissuaded them from going public for years, which the church has denied.
The charges date to a period when Masterson was at the height of his fame, starring from 1998 until 2006 as Steven Hyde on Fox’s “That ’70s Show.” The show made stars of Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace and is getting an upcoming Netflix reboot with “That ’90s Show.”
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