Nearly six months after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict in the Danny Masterson rape trial, his retrial has come to an end.
Breaking news has revealed that the That 70s Show star has been found guilty of 2 out of 3 counts of rape. According to NPR, the jury was made up of seven women and five men. The jurors reached a verdict “after deliberating for a total of seven days over a two-week period.”
The juror could not come to a unanimous decision when it came to the third count of rape against Masterson. NPR reports that 8 of the 12 jurors did vote in favor of conviction. After the verdict was read aloud, Masterson was led away in handcuffs.
He faces up to 30 years in prison for his crimes. Reports stated that Masterson’s wife, Bijou Phillips, cried as she watched her husband leave the room.
“I am experiencing a complex array of emotions – relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness – knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior,” one of the women, whom Masterson was convicted of raping at his home in 2003, said following his conviction.
In 2020, Danny Masterson was charged with forcibly raping three women at his primary residence on three separate occasions between 2001 and 2003. He pleaded not guilty to all three crimes and was ordered to stand trial – which began on October 18th and abruptly came to an end one month later.
And what an abrupt ending it was. With deliberations starting on November 15th, the jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict and, after a hopeless, three-day deadlock, the judge knew it was time to step in. “I find the jury is hopelessly deadlocked. Therefore, I do declare a mistrial,” said Judge Olmedo.
The judge had already given the jurors a one-week break for Thanksgiving, hoping they would be able to reach a verdict upon their return. Unfortunately, two of the jurors were unable to make it due to COVID-19 and the replacements didn’t make a difference as they continued to struggle to reach a unanimous vote.
According to the Associated Press, a majority of the jurors believed Danny Masterson was not guilty on all three counts of forcible rape. He was facing 45 years to life in state prison if convicted of all three counts, but in order for that to happen, jurors would need to unanimously vote him guilty – which they couldn’t do.
For the first count, there were 10 jurors who voted not guilty and two jurors who voted guilty. The second count had eight jurors voting not guilty and four jurors voting guilty. Finally, the third count consisted of seven jurors voting not guilty and five jurors voting guilty. That’s when the judge declared a mistrial.
During the trial, Masterson’s legal team argued a lack of evidence, cross contamination, and various inconsistencies in the victims’ testimonies. They apparently had no rape kit evidence, voicemail evidence, photographic evidence, and were allegedly speaking to one another before speaking with the LAPD.
While the judge has declared a mistrial, that doesn’t mean Masterson is off the hook. He must now stand a retrial, which is currently scheduled for March 27, 2023. He will, however, be free until then on bail of $3.3 million. His side will have to unanimously convince a set of jurors that he’s not guilty in order to win.
The Victims Speak Out Against Danny Masterson
Once the retrial was scheduled, two of the victims released a statement that expressed their deepest disappointment with the jurors’ inability to reach a unanimous verdict. Nonetheless, they vowed to continue their battle against Danny Masterson and ensure he’s held accountable for his actions.
We are obviously disappointed that, at least for the time being, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal accountability for his deplorable acts. However, we are collectively resolved to continue our fight for justice,” the statement read, adding that they’re thankful to the jury for its public service.
“This legal fight is far from over, and it is critical that we reckon with Scientology’s alleged role in covering up reports of abuse and threatening victims,” the two victims continued. They also accused Masterson and other members of the Church of Scientology of stalking, harassing, and intimidating them often.
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Both sides are intent on winning this battle, but that’s something that will ultimately come down to the jurors and their ability to reach a unanimous vote. That has yet to be seen, but we’ll just have to trust that the legal process runs its course and a verdict is reached sooner rather than later.
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