Danny Masterson Rape Trial Heats up Amid Opening Statements

Danny Masterson's rape trial is underway, and the case has already started heating up amid the opening statements. According to Deadline, right from the start Los Angeles County District Attorney Assistant DA Reinhold Mueller proclaimed the trial as "three different sexual assault cases, in fact, three different cases of forcible rape." He also made mention of the Church of Scientology allegedly trying to help Masterson cover up the reported incidents. One of Masterson's defense lawyers, Phillip Cohen, took the floor at one point to present an argument, but this is where things went awry.

While giving a "couple of highlights" about the prosecution's case, Cohen claimed that the alleged victims disregarded LAPD advice and maintained communication with each another. The attorney also indicated that the defense believes the victims were attempting to shake down Masterson due to the "oodles and oodles of money" he earned from his work on That '70s Show. As Cohen spoke, the prosecution brought up a number of objections. Deadline reports that this led Cohen to grow much more aggressive in his demeanor. Finally, Judge Charlene Olmedo frustratedly called both the prosecution and the defense to the bench and essentially ordered them to tone down their tempers.

Masterson is best known for playing high school slacker Steven Hyde on That '70s Show for the show's eight-season run on Fox. Years later, he and Ashton Kutcher, another star of That '70s Show, re-teamed for The Ranch, on Netflix. However, in 2017, multiple women filed sexual assault reports against Masterson, prompting Netflix to fire him. Following his firing, the actor spoke out, saying, "I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix's decision to write my character off of The Ranch. From Day 1, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me.

He continued, "Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused. I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all."

Masterson concluded, "In the meantime, I want to express my gratitude to the cast and crew that I've worked so closely with over the past three seasons. I wish them nothing but success. I am also so thankful to the fans that have supported me and continue to do so." If convicted of the crimes he is on trial for, Masterson faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison.