‘That ’70s Show’ star Danny Masterson to stand trial on rape charges
A judge ruled Friday that actor Danny Masterson of “That ’70s Show” must stand trial on three rape charges stemming from 2001 and 2003, The Associated Press reports.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo made the decision after four days of testimony by the three accusers, who each claimed the actor assaulted them in his home.
Masterson, who played Steven Hyde on the popular sitcom, denies the rape claims. His lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, argued the prosecution was acting on an anti-Scientology basis.
Masterson is a prominent member of the Church of Scientology, and the church came up multiple times during the hearing, the AP reported.
Attorney Sharon Appelbaum argued the accusers had formed a “sisterhood” that “seems to want to take down Mr. Masterson and take down Scientology.”
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller rejected that claim.
“These were not rehearsed statements,” Mueller said, according to the AP.
“They were heartfelt, and they each had their versions of what happened. If there is any consistency in these statements, it was because the defendant was consistent in these acts,” he added.
If convicted, Masterson could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison. His arraignment is scheduled for June 7.
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