Danny Masterson has been found guilty of rape and taken into custody.
The jury found the Scientologist actor guilty on two of three rape counts on Wednesday. The jurors were deadlocked on the third count.
His wife Bijou Phillips audibly cried as the verdict was read, with the judge asking her to stop.
Masterson – who played smart-mouthed Steven Hyde on That ’70s Show – was accused of raping three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and he was looking at a sentence of 45 years to life in prison if he was convicted on all three, plus forced registration as a sex offender. Throughout both trials he had been free on $3.3 million bail.
Danny Masterson, 47, was on trial for rape for a second time after his first ended in a mistrial in December, with a jury deadlocked on all counts. Pictured with wife Bijou Phillips
Inconsistencies in the women’s stories are essential and should make it easy for jurors to have reasonable doubt of Masterson’s guilt, his attorney Philip Cohen told jurors
His accusers – whom DailyMail.com is identifying only as Jane Does 1 through 3 – are all former Scientologists and are also suing the actor and the Church of Scientology in civil court, claiming that they’ve been harassed and intimidated since reporting him to police. A status hearing on that civil case is scheduled for June 28.
Scientology was front and center during both criminal trials. All three women testified that the reason they took so long to report him to the police was their fear of retribution from the Church of Scientology.
They said that church officials warned them not to use the word rape, that turning in a fellow Scientologist to law enforcement was considered a ‘high crime’, and if they disobeyed that doctrine, they could be declared a ‘suppressive person’, cast out by the church and left alone, cut off from family and friends.
In the second trial, prosecutors put much more emphasis than they did in the first trial on their claims that Masterson drugged his alleged victims by spiking drinks he gave them before raping them.
Calling Masterson a ‘predator’, Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson, said in her closing argument Tuesday, ‘It all starts with a drink…..This is his playbook….
‘The defendant drugged his victims to be in control. When he drugs them, he is completely able to control them….and he does it over and over again.’
Her prosecuting partner, DDA Reinhold Mueller, added Wednesday – as he pointed at Masterson – ‘After they were drugged, they were raped by this man over here.
‘It’s beyond reasonable doubt that this man drugged these women and raped them. It’s time to hold Mr. Masterson accountable for what he’s done.’
Masterson’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, objected Wednesday to the prosecution’s frequent referrals to his client drugging his alleged victims before raping them and called for a mistrial, saying, ‘drugging does not constitute forcible rape.’
Leah Remini and Danny Masterson pictured at a benefit dinner and concert for Project Restart and the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, November 3, 2007 in Las Vegas
Actress Leah Remini is pictured in court during Danny Masterson’s rape trial, April 24, 2023
But Judge Olmedo denied his mistrial motion, telling him that when considering drugging and use of force in a rape case, ‘one does not necessarily preclude the other.’
Cohen, pointed out that there are no toxicology reports to back up the 20-year-old drugging allegations against his client – who has always maintained that the sex with the three Jane Does was ‘consensual.’
Another difference between the two trials was the addition in the second of testimony from another ‘victim’ – a woman who claimed Masterson raped her in Toronto in 2000, though he was never charged with the alleged assault.
Prosecutors added her to the witness list to establish a pattern of ‘prior bad acts’ by Masterson. But Cohen dismissed the move, saying the new accuser was brought in for the retrial to ‘save the case’ for the DA.
Of the three women whose rape Masterson was charged with, Jane Doe 1 had told the court in the first trial that in April 2003 she was at the actor’s house where he gave her a fruity red drink with vodka that made her feel woozy, then threw her in his Jacuzzi, carried her upstairs where she passed out and woke up to find him raping her
She fought back, pushed a pillow into his face, she told the jury. But he pushed it back into her face, smothering her and she blacked out again.
When she woke, she said, Masterson opened a bedside draw and pulled out a gun which he brandished, telling her, ‘Don’t f**king move.’
Jane Doe 3 – who lived with Masterson for six years – was only 17 when she met him and he persuaded her to become a Scientologist, the court heard.
About a year into their relationship he became very controlling…and very aggressive sexually – she would often wake up at night and he would be on top of her, having sex with her, she told the court
In one such incident in November 2001, when she woke up to find him having sex with her, she told him no and tried to push him off, the court heard.
When that didn’t work, she pulled his hair. But he retaliated by hitting her across the face and calling her ‘white trash,’ said prosecutors.
Jane Doe 2 met Masterson at a bar in 2003 and gave him her phone number. He called her and invited her to his home. She went, and, the court heard, after having a drink and a stint in his Jacuzzi, she found herself in his bathroom shower with him where he ‘suddenly shoved his penis into her vagina….She said no, I told you no sex.’
Danny Masterson drugged women’s drinks so he could rape them, then relied on his prominence in the Church of Scientology to avoid consequences for years, a prosecutor has told jurors (file image of the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles)
Masterson played wise-cracking Steven Hyde on That ’70s Show from 1998 to 2006
They ended up in Masterson’s bed where, despite her protests, he flipped her over and started pounding her from behind ‘like a jackhammer,’ she testified, adding that she felt ‘like a limp rag doll.’
Masterson’s attorney, Cohen ,challenged ‘inconsistencies’ in the womens’ testimony and statements to police, accusing them of ‘blatant fabrications.’
And he asserted that the three had ‘colluded,’ choreographing and ‘tweaking’ their rape stories to help get Masterson convicted – which in turn could help them win a big cash payout in the civil lawsuit they have brought against him and the Church of Scientology.
Before the judge turned the case over to the jury just before 10am Wednesday, Mueller countered Cohen’s ‘inconsistencies’ argument, telling jurors, ‘Don’t be fooled – he (Cohen) is trying to get you to think there is a grand conspiracy.
‘Each of these victims spoke individually about what happened to them before they spoke to each other. So how is that a conspiracy?
‘There is no conspiracy. There was no tweaking. He’s guilty…..It’s not reasonable to believe any of these victims were lying.’