Danny Masterson, who was recently arrested for raping three women, made his first court appearance Friday in the courtroom in Los Angeles, where his lawyer maintained his innocence, claiming that the charges against him were “politicized” ” it was done.
The “70s show” alum lined up in front of the judge on Friday, with the three accused sitting in the gallery covering a dark blue suit and face.
The 44-year-old was arrested in June but freed on $ 3.3 million bail.
Masterson did not enter a plea. However, his legal counsel, Tom Messereau, announced the charges filed against Masterson by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, which are based on events that occurred nearly 20 years ago, and further claimed that they were prosecuting Masters. Were out of pressure for. As Lacey faces an election, it is also the result of unfair publicity from media outlets.
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“There have been repeated attempts to politicize the case,” said Mesereau, who represented Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson in their sexual misconduct cases. “He is not guilty at all and we are going to prove it.”
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Müller called the statements “pure speculation, with no basis in fact.”
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Mesro said the judge was considering a request to allow media cameras in the court, which he approved.
Mesreau argued that the media presence would be unfairly prejudicial to Masterson and tainted potential gamblers.
The attorney said, “We want to do anything we can to camouflage the atmosphere like a camera and a circus.”
Superior Court Judge Miguel T. Espinoza refused a defense order requesting a protective order sealing case files and barring police, prosecutors and potential witnesses from disclosing information of the case to the media, but said they would reconsider a similar request later.
The defense has filed documents stating the criminal complaint against Masterson as insufficient. The issue will be heard before Masterson is asked to enter a plea.
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Masterson’s arrest came after a three-year investigation that resulted in the trial of a famous Hollywood figure during the #MeToo era. Despite dozens of investigations, most have not made any allegations based on lack of evidence or passing too much time.
About 20 friends and supporters accompanied Masterson to the court, standing in the courtyard hall with him awaiting trial, but only a few were allowed inside the courtroom to meet the requirements of the coronovirus.
He only said “yes” to answer the judge’s questions.
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Masterson has been charged with three counts of rape by force or fear. Prosecutors allege that he raped a 23-year-old woman in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman between October and December of 2003. The prosecution said that all the alleged assaults took place at her house.
The women, who were not named in the charging documents, said in a statement through their attorneys when Masterson was arrested that he faced “harassment, embarrassment and re-victimization” as he began cooperating with authorities And they were thankful that they were thankful for this. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is finally seeking criminal justice. ”
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Masterson was fired from his role on Netflix’s “The Ranch” in 2017, shortly after the allegations surfaced. A criminal investigation was conducted at the time but no charges were laid.
At the time Musterson told the Huffington Post: “I am obviously very disappointed with Netflix’s decision to write my character of ‘The Wrench’. From day one, I have denied the offending charges against me. A crime on me. Was never charged, only one was convicted. ”
The statement continued: “In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are held guilty the moment you are accused. I understand and look forward to clearing my name once more. ”
If convicted, Masterson could face up to 45 years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report