Actor Danny Masterson, finest recognized for his position in the hit collection That ’70s Show, has appeared in court accused of raping three ladies in the early 2000s.
He is charged with raping the ladies, who have been all in their 20s, between 2001 and 2003.
Mr Masterson, 44, denies the charges 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 look over the allegations in Los Angeles on Friday.
While the actor didn’t enter a plea, his lawyer, Tom Mesereau, mounted a vigorous defence of his consumer, dismissing the charges in opposition to him as politically motivated.
The lawyer accused Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey of submitting the charges for political achieve forward of a bid to retain her submit in a November election.
“There have been repeated makes an attempt to politicise this case,” stated Mr Mesereau, who additionally defended Michael Jackson in opposition to sexual misconduct allegations in a earlier case. “He is completely not responsible and we will show it.”
Ms Lacey is but to remark, however Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller dismissed Mr Mesereau allegations as “false” and “pure hypothesis, with no foundation in reality”.
Friday’s court 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 attributable to coronavirus laws.
The allegations in opposition to Mr Masterson first got here to mild in 2017, when the #MeToo motion that impressed ladies to go public with misconduct allegations was gathering momentum.
Mr Masterson was faraway from The Ranch – the Netflix comedy in which he starred – over the allegations.
- Netflix writes accused actor out of The Ranch
At the time, Mr Masterson denied the “outrageous allegations” and vowed to clear his title “as soon as and for all”.
“Obviously, Mr Masterson and his spouse are in full shock contemplating that these practically 20-year-old allegations are abruptly ensuing in charges being filed, however they and their household are comforted understanding that finally the reality will come out,” his lawyer Mr Mesereau stated in an announcement.
The charges got here after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. Prosecutors didn’t file charges in two different instances attributable to inadequate proof and the statute of limitations expiring.
Mr Masterson has been married to the actor and mannequin Bijou Phillips since 2011.
That ’70s Show – which additionally starred Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis – ran from 1998 to 2006, gaining big worldwide success.