'That '70s Show' star Danny Masterson found guilty of 2 counts of rape

 

by IANS |

Los Angeles, June 1 (IANS) Actor Danny Masterson, the actor best known for his role in 'That '70s Show', was found guilty of two counts of rape in a Los Angeles retrial in which the Church of Scientology played a central role.

The jury of seven women and five men reached the verdict after deliberating for seven days spread over two weeks. They could not reach a verdict on the third count, that alleged Masterson raped a longtime girlfriend. They had voted 8-4 in favour of conviction, reports 'The Guardian'.

Masterson was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. The 47-year-old actor faces up to 30 years in prison. His wife, actor and model Bijou Phillips, wept as he was led away. Other family and friends sat stone-faced.

Prosecutors, retrying Masterson after a deadlocked jury led to a mistrial in December, said he forcibly raped three women, including a longtime girlfriend, in his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. They told jurors he drugged the women's drinks so he could rape them. They said he used his prominence in the church - where all three women were also members at the time - to avoid consequences for decades.

'The Guardian' further states that Masterson did not testify, and his lawyers called no witnesses. The defence argued that the acts were consensual, and attempted to discredit the women's stories by highlighting changes and inconsistencies over time, which they said showed signs of coordination between them.

"If you decide that a witness deliberately lied about something in this case," defence attorney Philip Cohen told jurors, "you should consider not believing anything that witness says."

The Church of Scientology played a significant role in the first trial but arguably an even larger one in the second. Judge Charlaine F Olmedo allowed expert testimony on church policy from a former official in Scientology leadership who has become a prominent opponent.

Tensions ran high in the courtroom between current and former Scientologists, and even leaked into testimony, with the accusers saying on the stand that they felt intimidated by some members in the room.

Actor Leah Remini, a former member who has become the church's highest-profile critic, sat in on the trial at times, putting her arm around one of the accusers to comfort her during closing arguments.

Latest Cinema Updates
Karan Aujla reveals he wrote Diljit Dosanjh's 'G.O.A.T' in 10 minutes Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 02:21 PM
Malayalam actor Joju George injured during helicopter shot, out of action for 3 weeks Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 02:20 PM
Ali Fazal explains how he approached his character Guddu Pandit in ‘Mirzapur’ Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 02:18 PM
Miley Cyrus is ‘not very active' in friendships with other entertainers Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 01:04 PM
Khloe Kardashian wants sister Kendall Jenner to go wild with sex and tequila Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 01:01 PM
Karan Johar says if content is king, writers are emperors Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 01:00 PM
Pilates allows 'foodie' Sherleen Dutt to stay fit and eat what she loves Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:56 PM
Rani Chatterjee reveals her biggest inspiration and why she has a high-protein diet Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:49 PM
Martin Garrix shares picture with Arijit Singh, hints at potential collaboration Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:48 PM
Neha Joshi's father has been her 'greatest strength during moments of doubt' Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:41 PM
Bill Gates to feature on Nikhil Kamath’s podcast, discuss tech, global health, philanthropy Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:40 PM
Palle Singh 'was immediately drawn' to his character in 'Bad Cop' which he 'had never done before' Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:39 PM
Mumbai International Film Festival to screen 4 titles for differently-abled festival attendees Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:38 PM
Rajkummar Rao, Patralekha seek Lord Shiva's blessings at Kashi Vishwanath Thu, Jun 13, 2024, 12:36 PM
Shilpa Saklani opens up on playing 'fierce, unstoppable businesswoman' in 'Parineetii' Wed, Jun 12, 2024, 11:57 AM
Abhishek Kumar aims at doing car stunt on 'KKK14'; reveals what he took with him for Romania shoot Wed, Jun 12, 2024, 11:31 AM
Countdown starts for Sonakshi-Zaheer marriage: Sangeet to be held on June 19 Wed, Jun 12, 2024, 11:28 AM
Neeru Bajwa on 'rockstar' Diljit Dosanjh: 'He has put us up there in the world' Wed, Jun 12, 2024, 11:27 AM
Megan Thee Stallion chokes back tears onstage after AI sex tape goes viral Mon, Jun 10, 2024, 12:08 PM
'MTV Splitsvilla X5’: Sunny Leone says ‘love is a 50-50 thing, it's not one sided’ Mon, Jun 10, 2024, 12:05 PM