The jury was “hopelessly deadlocked,” Los Angeles Superior Court docket Choose Charlaine F. Olmedo declared after inquiring whether or not there was something the courtroom might do to maneuver them nearer to reaching a unanimous resolution.
Jurors mentioned they’d voted seven instances Tuesday and Wednesday with out having the ability to attain consensus on any of the three counts.
The jury foreman mentioned solely two jurors voted for conviction on the primary rely, 4 voted for conviction on the second rely and 5 voted to convict on the third rely.
The star of the ’90s sitcom That ’70s Present has been on trial since mid-October for the alleged rapes of three ladies at this Hollywood Hills house in 2001 and 2003.
Masterson, now 46, was one of many stars of the hit sitcom on the time, and pleaded not responsible to the three counts of rape.
On Nov. 28, Olmedo changed two unique jurors with alternates and instructed the panel to start out over with deliberations, after the 2 jurors got here down with COVID-19.
The jurors had been coming back from every week off after telling Olmedo on Nov. 18 that they had been deadlocked and couldn’t attain a verdict on any of the three rape counts towards Masterson after almost three days of deliberations.
The decide instructed them it was too quickly to declare a mistrial and to maintain deliberating once they returned from the vacation break.
Wednesday’s outcome was a severe setback for prosecutors, and for the three ladies who mentioned they had been looking for lengthy overdue justice.
All three accusers and Masterson had been members of the Church of Scientology on the time the allegations occurred, and whereas all three accusers have since left the church, Masterson stays a member.
Regardless of pre-trial directions from Olmedo that the church should not become a de facto defendant in the trial, discuss of Scientology loomed massive within the Los Angeles courtroom.
Throughout closing arguments, defence lawyer Phillip Cohen mentioned the allegations had been so riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies that prosecutors implicated the Church of Scientology to assist patch holes in its case.
“When there are contradictions and inconsistencies — blame it on others,” Cohen mentioned. “We heard Scientology so usually that it actually grew to become the go-to excuse.”
“There aren’t any prices towards Scientology however you may’t keep away from it,” Deputy District Legal professional Reinhold Mueller mentioned in his rebuttal argument.
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Mueller mentioned the ladies had been late in reporting the alleged rapes as a result of Scientology guidelines prevented them from going to law enforcement and in the event that they spoke exterior the church about what occurred, they’d be ostracized.
The ladies, Mueller mentioned, had been afraid to testify as a result of they’d been subjected to harassment, intimidation and stalking by the hands of the church after they reported the crimes.
If the statements by the ladies had been all constant then it could have indicated they had been scripted, Mueller mentioned. He mentioned inconsistencies usually come up when victims of sexual assault need to relive their ordeals when talking to police for the primary time.
“They’re having to achieve inside themselves and pull out that ache and trauma that they’ve had buried inside themselves,” Mueller mentioned. “You might discover some inconsistencies there.”
Testimony by the ladies — all known as Jane Does 1-3 — was graphic and emotional. One lady mentioned she had vomited and handed out after Masterson gave her a blended drink. She mentioned she returned to consciousness to seek out him having tough and painful intercourse along with her.
A former girlfriend of Masterson mentioned she woke as much as discover him having intercourse along with her when she hadn’t consented.
Masterson selected to not testify and his lawyer, as an alternative of offering defence proof, as an alternative targeted on how the ladies’s tales had modified over time, arguing that the acts had been consensual.
“The important thing to this case just isn’t once they reported it,” Cohen mentioned. “It’s what they mentioned once they reported it. What they mentioned after they reported it. And what they mentioned at trial.”
He mentioned prosecutors’ depiction of Masterson as a “commanding scary, abusive monster” was undermined by testimony by his former girlfriend who mentioned she willingly had intercourse with him after the alleged rapes.
“I get the theme: Paint Danny as a monster. However once you take a look at the precise testimony it tells us one thing completely different,” Cohen mentioned. “That is the issue once you begin veering from the reality.”
Mueller instructed the jury to stay to the proof and to not be swayed by the defence.
He mocked an announcement Cohen made when he instructed jurors they might acquit Masterson in the event that they thought he “really and fairly believed” the ladies consented to having intercourse.
Mueller mentioned no person would imagine the acts described had been consensual. He reminded them that one lady repeatedly instructed Masterson “no,” pulled his hair and tried to get out from underneath him.
One other lady mentioned Masterson helped her throw up by placing his finger down her throat, then instructed her she was disgusting and made her bathe as a result of she had vomit it in her hair, Mueller mentioned.
“Then he places her in mattress, flips her over and has his approach along with her,” Mueller mentioned. “There’s not an inexpensive perception (she) consented. Completely not.”
The fees date to a interval when Masterson was on the peak of his fame, starring from 1998 till 2006 as Steven Hyde on Fox’s “That ’70s Present.” The present made stars of Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace and is getting an upcoming Netflix reboot with “That ’90s Present.”
Masterson had reunited with Kutcher on the Netflix comedy “The Ranch” however was written off the present when an LAPD investigation was revealed in December 2017.
— With information from The Related Press
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