Actor Danny Masterson, finest identified for his function within the hit collection That ’70s Present, has appeared in court docket accused of raping three girls within the early 2000s.
He’s charged with raping the ladies, who had been all of their 20s, between 2001 and 2003.
Mr Masterson, 44, denies the costs and has argued he was being persecuted for his high-profile membership of the Church of Scientology.
If convicted, the actor may resist 45 years in jail.
Free on $3.3m (£2.5m) bail since his arrest in mid-June, Mr Masterson made his first court docket look over the allegations in Los Angeles on Friday.
Whereas the actor didn’t enter a plea, his lawyer, Tom Mesereau, mounted a vigorous defence of his consumer, dismissing the costs in opposition to him as politically motivated.
The lawyer accused Los Angeles County District Lawyer Jackie Lacey of submitting the costs for political acquire forward of a bid to retain her put up in a November election.
“There have been repeated makes an attempt to politicise this case,” mentioned Mr Mesereau, who additionally defended Michael Jackson in opposition to sexual misconduct allegations in a earlier case. “He’s completely not responsible and we will show it.”
Ms Lacey is but to remark, however Deputy District Lawyer Reinhold Mueller dismissed Mr Mesereau allegations as “false” and “pure hypothesis, with no foundation in truth”.
Friday’s court docket listening to was attended by all three of Mr Masterson’s accusers, whereas about 20 of the actor’s supporters stood exterior the courtroom, unable to enter as a result of coronavirus rules.
The allegations in opposition to Mr Masterson first got here to mild in 2017, when the #MeToo motion that impressed girls to go public with misconduct allegations was gathering momentum.
Mr Masterson was faraway from The Ranch – the Netflix comedy wherein he starred – over the allegations.
- Netflix writes accused actor out of The Ranch
On the time, Mr Masterson denied the “outrageous allegations” and vowed to clear his title “as soon as and for all”.
“Clearly, Mr Masterson and his spouse are in full shock contemplating that these practically 20-year-old allegations are instantly leading to expenses being filed, however they and their household are comforted realizing that in the end the reality will come out,” his lawyer Mr Mesereau mentioned in an announcement.
The costs got here after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Division. Prosecutors didn’t file expenses in two different circumstances as a result of inadequate proof and the statute of limitations expiring.
Mr Masterson has been married to the actor and mannequin Bijou Phillips since 2011.
That ’70s Present – which additionally starred Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis – ran from 1998 to 2006, gaining enormous worldwide success.