A Los Angeles judge on Friday ordered That ’70s Show star Danny Masterson to stand trial on charges of raping three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.
After hearing three days of often harrowing and tearful testimony from all three victims, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo denied a motion from the Scientologist actor’s legal team to dismiss the charges.
‘I find that the testimony of Jen B, Christina B and N. Trout (the names the women were identified by in court) is credible and sufficient to support the charges,’ the judge told the criminal court in downtown LA.
‘I find there is sufficient evidence to bind Mr Masterson over for jury trial.’
A judge has ruled That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson must stand trial on rape charges. Pictured, how he appeared in court on Tuesday. Masterson has pleaded not guilty
Masterson, 45, will stand trial on three counts of rape by force or fear, charges that could get him up to 45 years in prison
Masterson has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers said they would prove his innocence He is Pictured on his way to court on Wednesday
An alleged victim, only referred to as ‘N. Trout’ claimed on Thursday Masterson ‘commanded’ her to come over to his house (pictured), which was close to her house
The preliminary hearing lasted three days with dramatic and often emotional testimony from the three women
Actor Danny Masterson is seen in court sketches listening to testimony from an accuser on Wednesday morning during the second day of his trial hearing
She ordered Masterson, 45, back to court on June 7 to be arraigned and allowed him to continue to be free on the $3.3 million bail that was set when he was arrested in June. She also ordered him to surrender his passport – currently being held by his lawyers – at that June 7 hearing.
Masterson – who wore a blue suit, dark tie and white shirt in court today – showed no reaction to the judge’s decision.
Judge Olmedo also took a swipe at the Church of Scientology which, according to the three women – all of them Scientologists – threatened retaliation if they reported Masterson to the police.
The church, said the judge, ‘does not only discourage but prevent reporting of fellow Scientologists to law enforcement.
Danny Masterson outside of court in Los Angeles on Tuesday
On Wednesday a woman testified that she was five years into a relationship with the That ’70s Show actor when she awoke to find he was raping her as she slept and took drastic measures to get him to stop
Danny Masterson posted a photo Tuesday of himself in the passenger seat as his wife 41-year-old Bijou Phillips drove, with the caption, ‘Had the most beautiful Uber driver drop me off at school today. #uberwife #bijouphillips,’ and the location ‘Court House’
The testimony during the past week from Masterson’s three accusers was traumatic and wrenching, with all three women breaking down in tears at times.
Jen B told how he threw her in his jacuzzi, raped her and then pulled a gun her, telling her, ‘Don’t say a f—king word. You’re not going to tell anybody.’
Masterson’s attorney said the two had consensual sex. They pointed out that her testimony that Masterson threatened her with a gun hadn’t appeared in an initial police report in 2004.
Christina B described how she woke up naked to find Masterson raping her and when she tried to fight him off, he hit her and spit on her, calling her ‘white trash’.
Masterson’s lawyers argued that that she had reframed the incident in recent years only after another alleged rape she reported could not lead to charges.
N. Trout A third alleged rape victim of That ’70s star Danny Masterson told a Los Angeles court today how he ‘ravaged like a rag doll and pounded her from behind like a jackhammer.’
Defense attorneys said she knew she was going to his house for sexual purposes, that she voluntarily stayed most of the night and that she sought a dating relationship with him that she did not get.
All three said before each alleged rape, Masterson – who has pleaded not guilty to all charges – gave them a drink after which they felt ‘blurry’ and disoriented.
Earlier this week, Masterson’s attorney, Tom Mesereau (right), accused prosecutors of ‘blatant religious bias’ against the Church of Scientology and asked the judge to ban witnesses from mentioning Scientology during testimony. Pictured in September 2020
Masterson is seen in a court sketch from Tuesday’s hearing listening to prosecutors present evidence to a judge as they attempted to show he should stand trial for the alleged rapes of three women. The judge agreed. Masterson was told to return to court on June 7
And all three said they feared retribution from the Church of Scientology if they reported the actor to the cops.
In filing to dismiss the charges today, one of Masterson’s attorneys, Sharon Appelbaum, challenged and disputed the stories of the three women, claiming there were ‘inconsistencies’ between what they told police and what they said in the witness box.
‘The prosecution did not establish that a crime had been committed in any of these cases, ‘ she argued. ‘We believe that Mr. Masterson has been unjustly accused in this case for actions he did not do…..Rape has not been proven in any of these cases.
‘Mr. Masterson believes he had consensual sex with Jen B and N. Trout…and the alleged rape of Christina B did not occur at all.’
Masterson played wise-cracking Steven Hyde on That ’70s Show from 1998 to 2006
Appelbaum talked about a ‘sisterhood’ between the three women ‘who seem to want to take Mr. Masterson down. The communicate with each other. They speak often, even though the police asked them not to.’
She accused the three – who are suing Masterson in a separate civil case – of ‘colluding’ with each other, of ‘changing their stories’, which she said have become ‘more and more similar’ over recent years.
‘All three of these ladies have monetary motives. They have filed a lawsuit against Mr. Masterson.’
Responding to Appelbaum’s accusations about collusion, deputy district attorney Reinhold Mueller told the court, ‘From the testimony I heard it was anything but collusion. These were not rehearsed statements. They were heartfelt.’
And to the claim that there were inconsistencies in the alleged rape accounts of the three women, Mueller added, ‘If there is one thing that is consistent her it’s that the defendant (Masterson) was consistent in what he did to these girls.’