Prosecutors describe three women’s rape allegations against That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson 20 years ago.

In opening statements to Masterson’s trial, Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller said two women passed out from annoyance after a few drinks and were placed in his hot tub.

Los Angeles Superior Court heard one of the women say Masterson dragged her to his bed, where she regained consciousness and found him having sex with her.

A third woman said she woke up to find him on top of her.

Masterson’s attorneys attributed the many commonalities to these allegations, citing alleged victims violating criminal warnings not to speak to each other and calling their testimony “cross-pollinated.” and undermined their credibility.

Attorney Philip Cohen said in court:

“Talking to each other and other witnesses is fatal to the case.”

Masterson, 46, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of forced rape at his Hollywood home between 2001 and 2003.

Mr. Cohen urged the jurors not to consider Mr. Masterson’s affiliation with the Church of Scientology and his connection to the case, but Mr. Mueller said it was because the women (all former members of the Church) were not involved in the case. said it helped explain why he waited so long to report the

Masterson will appear on his arraignment in Los Angeles Superior Court (AP).

The two alleged victims were expelled from their close friends and family if they first went to church to report what had happened and reported it to authorities or told others it wasn’t rape. I was told it would happen.

“You essentially become an enemy of the church,” Mueller said. “You lose it all.”

Cohen said the incident had nothing to do with religion, and he repeatedly objected when it was brought up.

Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo sternly reminded attorneys that Scientology does not dominate trials.

The trial witness list is filled with members and former members of churches that have a strong presence in Los Angeles and count many prominent members as members.

The list includes former member Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley’s daughter, Michael Jackson’s ex-wife, and one of the victims’ friends.

Two of the women connected in 2016, shared their stories, and filed a police report. Another woman went to police in 2017 after telling her story to her husband, who helped her realize she had been raped, the court heard.

Cohen said the core of Masterson’s defense was a “sizzle reel of contradictions” between what the women said first and how their explanations changed over time.

If convicted, Masterson could face up to 45 years in prison.

From 1998 to 2006, Masterson starred as Stephen Hyde on Fox’s That ’70s Show, made stars Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace, and planned a Netflix reboot with That ’90s Show. .

Masterson reunited with Kutcher in the Netflix comedy The Lunch, but was pulled from the show in December 2017 when the Los Angeles Police Department investigation came to light.

If you are affected by the issues raised in this article, please call the National 24 Hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800-77 8888 to access text services and web chat options. visit rape crisis help.

Always dial 999/112 for emergencies.

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