LOS ANGELES — The decide within the rape trial of “That ‘70s Present” star Danny Masterson dealt the protection a possible setback Monday by permitting a fourth lady who says she was assaulted by the actor to testify.
Masterson, 46, is charged with raping three girls between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills dwelling. His trial began Oct. 18.
“I really feel sandbagged,” protection lawyer Philp Cohen mentioned after Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom Decide Charlaine F. Olmedo mentioned she would permit prosecutors to place the witness, recognized as Jane Doe #4, on the stand.
Deputy District Lawyer Reinhold Mueller argued that Cohen opened the door by suggesting that Masterson’s three accusers, all former members of the Church of Scientology, colluded towards the actor, who nonetheless belongs to the church.
Jane Doe #4 was not in cahoots with Masterson’s accusers or a Scientologist, Mueller mentioned. He mentioned the jury ought to be conscious there’s one other lady “on the market with comparable expertise with Mr. Masterson who additionally was interviewed” by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Division.
Masterson has not been charged within the fourth alleged assault.
Olmedo agreed and denied Cohen’s request for a mistrial. The decide had initially barred the testimony of Jane Doe #4, who advised police she was sexually assaulted by Masterson in 1996.
“The protection is now saying the victims are nearly solely centered on a financial motive and is targeted on collusion and altering statements,” the decide mentioned. “However in addition to that change, what is sort of vital to the courtroom, the protection was nearly solely centered on consent.”
The developments got here on day 16 of the carefully watched trial in Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom.
Masterson, 46, has denied the allegations and pleaded not responsible to a few counts of forcible rape. He stays free on $3.3 million bail.
All through the trial, the jury has heard graphic testimony from the three accusers, one in every of whom is a former longtime girlfriend.
“This isn’t going to be a trial on Scientology,” Olmedo warned at a pretrial listening to for Masterson, though she allowed the accusers to quote the church as a purpose they waited to report the alleged rapes.
However authorized analysts advised NBC Information earlier that Scientology looms giant over the proceedings.
Two of Masterson’s three accusers have testified that they had been rebuffed after they advised church officers he had raped them and mentioned that they had been subjected to stalking and different acts of retaliation after they reported the alleged assaults to police.
Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw said final week that the church “has no coverage prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting legal conduct of Scientologists, or of anybody, to regulation enforcement.”
“Fairly the alternative,” Pouw wrote. “Church coverage explicitly calls for Scientologists abide by all legal guidelines of the land.”
Pouw additionally insisted Jane Doe #3 by no means reported a sexual assault to the church and accused her, the 2 different Jane Does, and former Scientologist and actress Leah Remini of constructing “false allegations of harassment” towards the church in a civil grievance
Remini is an outspoken critic of the faith that counts amongst its members Hollywood celebrities similar to Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley.
Final week, when Jane Doe #2 testified, Cohen’s colleague Karen Goldstein complained to the decide that the three dozen Tweets that Remini posted concerning the trial and protection technique in latest days “makes it exceedingly tough for Mr. Masterson to get a good trial.”
Masterson’s protection staff requested for a mistrial, and Olmedo denied the request.
Scientology was began in 1952 by the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. The faith asserts in its official statements of beliefs that man is an immortal religious being with limitless capabilities, and it gives, for a value, one-on-one “auditing” and courses designed to assist members obtain a “clear” religious state. It strongly opposes the science of psychiatry as “disastrous.”
Masterson has been married to actress Bijou Phillips since 2011 and he or she is an energetic member of the Church of Scientology. She has additionally been a relentless presence at her husband’s trial.
Dua Anjam and Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles, Corky Siemaszko from New York Metropolis