In a courtroom drama that has captured public attention, the closing arguments were presented in the rape retrial of actor Danny Masterson. Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson passionately described Masterson as a predator who meticulously selected and targeted his victims. Meanwhile, defense attorney Philip Kent Cohen challenged the credibility of the alleged victims and urged the jury to acquit his client.
Anson laid out her case, telling the downtown Los Angeles jury that Masterson, known for his role in “That ’70s Show,” employed a systematic approach, drugging and assaulting three women between 2001 and 2003. “It all starts with a drink… This is his playbook,” she said. Emphasizing that Masterson carefully sought out his prey, Anson drew parallels between his actions and those of other predators.
This is the second jury to hear the case against Masterson. In the previous trial, the jurors were leaning toward acquittal, unable to reach a unanimous decision. However, the prosecution opted for a retrial, seeking justice for the alleged victims. Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo denied the defense’s request to dismiss the charges.
Anson highlighted the challenges faced by the women in bringing their allegations to court, specifically noting their prior membership in the Church of Scientology and the limitations imposed on them by the church when reporting the incidents. The prosecutor indicated that the testimony would shed light on their struggles.
Cohen, representing Masterson, focused on the credibility of the accusers. He reminded the jury that the case boiled down to events that took place over twenty years ago and urged them to pay close attention to the testimony of the alleged victims. Cohen also pointed out that the women had disregarded the advice of a police detective by communicating with each other, potentially compromising the case.
The defense attorney cautioned against turning the trial into a referendum on Scientology, emphasizing that the focus should remain on the specific allegations against Masterson.
Since his arrest in June 2020, Masterson has been out on bail. In 2017, he was fired from the Netflix show “The Ranch” following sexual assault allegations. Masterson has consistently maintained his innocence, stating that he looks forward to clearing his name.
Notably, the criminal case is accompanied by a civil suit filed against Masterson and the Church of Scientology. The suit alleges stalking and harassment of the women involved, including one who was not a member of the church. The Church of Scientology has categorically denied the allegations, expressing confidence in their eventual vindication.
As the jury deliberates, the outcome of this high-profile retrial remains uncertain, with the verdict poised to have significant implications for all parties involved.