LOS ANGELES – Closing arguments are expected to begin Tuesday at the second trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson, who is charged with raping three women at his Los Angeles home between 2001 and 2003.
Attorneys for both sides rested their cases Friday, three weeks into the trial. Masterson’s defense attorneys declined to call any witnesses.
The 47-year-old’s first trial ended in a mistrial in December, with jurors hopelessly deadlocked on all three counts.
The actor has pleaded not guilty. He could get 45 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.
The Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a member and all three women are former members, has played an even larger role in the second trial than it did in the first. The judge allowed a former member of the church’s leadership to testify as an expert on the institution’s policies about going to police, and a courtroom controversy broke out during the trial over a Scientology attorney apparently having possession of trial evidence.
The women testified that church officials kept them from going to authorities as soon as they would have about Masterson. The church has denied having any policies forbidding members from reporting other members to law enforcement.
Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo also allowed the prosecution to directly say that Masterson drugged each of the victims. Olmedo only allowed secondary evidence of it at the first trial.
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller will be first to give a closing argument in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday morning. He will try to convince the jury to unanimously convict Masterson after failing to get even half of the jurors at the first trial to vote guilty on any count.
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