The That ’70s Show star is accused of raping three women, each of whom is a former member of the Church of Scientology. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo limited testimony about Scientology to five areas: why the alleged victims didn’t contact police sooner; their fears of being declared a “suppressive person” within Scientology; the alleged harassment they’re allegedly experiencing by the Church of Scientology; and past and present ties to Scientology as it relates to their current state of mind.
Masterson’s lawyer Philip Cohen criticized the prosecution’s focus on Scientology in his closing argument, telling jurors that a word search of trial transcripts shows “Scientology” was mentioned 700 times. He also hammered home to jurors the steep burden of proof prosecutors face trying to persuade them that Masterson should be convicted of three counts of forcible rape involving three women in 2001 and 2003.
But Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller in his closing argument emphatically declared Masterson “a rapist” and “a man for whom no never meant no” while urging jurors to convict him of each count and “show him that ‘no’ actually means ‘no.'”
Olmedo told the attorneys she was “inclined to send a note back to the jury” that says “you have been deliberating for an insufficient period of time.”
Actor William “Billy” Baldwin, the second-youngest of the four Baldwin brothers, leaves court in Los Angeles today after the deadlocked jury in Danny Masterson’s rape trial was ordered to continue deliberating Nov. 28. (Masterson is married to Baldwin’s wife’s half-sister.) pic.twitter.com/Gj3Geycraf
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) November 18, 2022
Cohen, however, strongly objected to the jury not deliberating all next week.
He said the case against Masterson comes down to “do you believe the women or do you not?”
“Given the dearth of questions it doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of confusion going on,” Cohen said. “It seems like there’s just significant disagreement on what the evidence demonstrates.”
“My significant concern is sending the jury away for a week given what has been an extensive amount of coverage of this case including lots of things that weren’t necessarily part of the trial,” Cohen continued.
Mueller supported Olmedo’s suggestion, saying the jury needs more time to consider the four weeks of testimony. Olmedo said she would tell them to return Monday, but five jurors said they can’t be here next week because of travel and family and travel obligations, including child care.
That means deliberations are to continue Monday, Nov. 28.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]