Danny Masterson appeared in court on Friday to be arraigned on rape charges. The 44-year-old actor’s lawyer filed a demurrer so he didn’t have to enter a plea — yet. Masterson has been free on bail since his June arrest. The next hearing is set for October.
Masterson is accused of raping three women between 2001 and 2003. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison. According to the Chicago Tribune, Masterson’s criminal defense attorney, Tom Mesereau, maintained his client’s innocence.
“There have been repeated attempts to politicize this case,” said Mesereau, who also represented Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson in their sexual misconduct cases. “He is absolutely not guilty and we’re going to prove it.”
Leah Remini was at the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles lending her support to Masterson’s three accusers, who were also in attendance. The three alleged victims were members of the Church of Scientology, which Masterson has belonged. They, along with a fourth woman, filed a civil lawsuit against the That ‘70s Show star and the church. The women claim the church tried to silence them. Both Masterson and the Church of Scientology have denied the accusations and the lawsuit remains unresolved. Remini famously left the church in 2013.
After Masterson was arrested, Remini tweeted, “This is just the beginning Scientology, your days of getting away with it is coming to an end!”
Finally, victims are being heard when it comes to Scientology! Praise the lord! This is just the beginning Scientology, your days of getting away with it is coming to an end! #justice #scientologytheaftermath https://t.co/oAFlIoWFYd— Leah Remini (@LeahRemini) June 17, 2020
Masterson was charged with forcibly raping three women, all in their 20’s, in separate incidents at his home in the Hollywood Hills. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office noted other alleged sexual assault victims came forward. However, Masterson was not charged in two instances due to insufficient evidence and the statute of limitations.
After Masterson’s arrest, he denied wrongdoing through his attorney.
“Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify,” Mesereau told Yahoo Entertainment in a statement.
Masterson has been married to model and actress Bijou Phillips for nine years. They share 6-year-old daughter, Fianna. Phillips, 40, deactivated her Instagram account in the wake of her husband’s arrest, but she appears to be standing by him.
“Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year-old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out,” Mesereau continued. “The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
Masterson was fired from Netflix’s The Ranch in 2017 amid the LAPD’s investigation into sexual assault claims. He has not had steady work since.