The trial for the rape of actor Danny Masterson has been announced

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked in the trial of the “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Mastersonwho was accused of three counts of rape.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlene F. Olmedo ordered jurors to take a Thanksgiving break and continue deliberations after they told her on Nov. 18 they could not reach a unanimous verdict on the rape charges following a month-long trial in which the Church of Scientology played a supporting role.

Masterson, 46, was accused of raping three women, including a former girlfriend, at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. He pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer said all the acts were consensual. All three women were members of the church at the time, and Masterson remains single.

“I believe the jury is hopelessly deadlocked,” Judge Charlene Olmedo said after being asked if there was anything the court could do to bring them closer to reaching a unanimous verdict.

Jurors said they voted seven times on Tuesday and Wednesday, failing to reach a consensus on any of the three counts.

The jury foreman said only two jurors voted to convict on count one, four voted to convict on count two and five voted to convict on count three.

There were jurors forced to start the discussion from scratch on Monday when two had to be laid off because they contracted COVID-19. They deliberated for two days, but they could not reach a verdict.

The result was a major setback for prosecutors and for the three women, who said they were seeking long-overdue justice.

The trial came amid a flurry of cases on both coasts with #MeToo connotations, among others The trial of Harvey Weinstein in Los Angeles just down the hall from Masterson. in new york Kevin Spacey won sexual harassment lawsuit filed by actor Anthony Rapp in New York, and jury indicts director and screenwriter Paul Haggis to pay 10 million dollars in a civil case there is.

But in Masterson’s trial, as in Haggis’ trial, the fallout of #MeToo was largely overshadowed by the specter of Scientology, despite the judge’s insistence that the church not become a de facto defendant.

The women, all identified as Jane Doose and all former church members, said they were intimidated, harassed and harassed after Masterson was charged. They repeated these accusations in a lawsuit against the church.

Masterson’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, said the church was mentioned 700 times during the trial and argued that it was an excuse for prosecutors’ failure to build a credible case against Masterson, a prominent Scientologist.

But Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Muller said the church tried to silence the women, which is why it took two decades for the case to come to trial.

Masterson did not testify. His lawyer did not present any defense testimony and instead focused on inconsistencies in the testimony of the three accusers, who he said changed their stories over time and spoke to each other before going to police.

“The key to this case is not when they reported it,” Cohen said during closing arguments. “That’s what they said when they reported it. What they said after the post. And what they said in court.”

Mueller argued that Masterson was a man “for whom ‘no’ never meant ‘no,'” as demonstrated by the vivid and emotional testimony of the three accusers.

The two women said Masterson served them drinks and they passed out or blacked out before being brutally raped. One said she thought she was going to die when Masterson held a pillow over her face.

The ex-girlfriend said she woke up to find Masterson having sex with her without her consent. The defense said her claims were justified because she later had sex with him after they broke up.

Cohen told jurors they could acquit Masterson if they believed he “truly and reasonably believed” the women consented to sex. Mueller countered that no one would believe the acts described were consensual, reminding jurors that one woman repeatedly told him no, pulled his hair and tried to get out from under him.

Mueller told jurors not to be swayed by defense speculation and said inconsistencies in victim testimony are signs of authenticity, as opposed to fabricated accounts.

The allegations date back to when Masterson was at the height of his fame, starring as Stephen Hyde on Fox’s That ’70s Show from 1998 to 2006. The show has starred Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace, and will soon be rebooting That ’90s Show on Netflix.

Masterson reunited with Kutcher on the Netflix comedy The Ranch, but was fired from the show when the LAPD investigation came to light in December 2017.

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