A jury found “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson guilty of two counts of rape Wednesday in a retrial in Los Angeles.
The jury of seven women and five men reached the verdict after deliberating for seven days spread over the course of two weeks, The Associated Press reported. The jury could not reach a verdict on a third count that alleged Masterson raped a longtime girlfriend, the wire service reported. They had voted 8-4 in favor of conviction on that charge.
Masterson, 47, was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, the AP reported. He will be held without bail until he is sentenced. No sentencing date has yet been set. The judge told Masterson and his lawyers to return to court on Aug. 4 for a hearing.
He could face 30 years to life in prison.
In a statement, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said his office is disappointed that the jury did not convict on all counts but respects the decision.
“The verdicts handed down by the jury in this case were undoubtedly a difficult one to reach, and we thank the jurors for their service,” the statement said. “We also recognize that preventing sexual assault is critical and we will continue to educate the public on the importance of consent, healthy relationships, and bystander intervention. We believe that by working together, we can create a safer and more just society for all.”
A spokesperson for Masterson had no immediate comment.
His wife, actor and model Bijou Phillips, wept as he was led away while other family and friends sat stone-faced, the AP reported.
“I am experiencing a complex array of emotions — relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness — knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior,” one of the women, whom Masterson was convicted of raping at his home in 2003, said in a statement.
Prosecutors retried rape charges against him after a judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the charges jurors deadlocked on last November.
Last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo declared a mistrial in the high-profile case after jurors failed to reach an accord on three separate charges of rape involving three women who claimed Masterson raped them in 2001 and 2003 at the actor’s Hollywood Hills home.
After a 4-week trial, jurors largely voted for acquittal but could not agree.
Masterson and his defense attorney Philip Kent Cohen sensed momentum with the partial victory. They filed a motion to dismiss earlier this year, arguing that the jury’s final votes – and their earlier unsuccessful efforts to find unanimity – suggested a repeat trial would have the same result.
All three alleged victims said they met Masterson through the Church of Scientology. The actor himself is a lifelong Scientologist.
One of the alleged victims claims that she was drugged and went in and out of consciousness, occasionally waking to find the defendant bathing and then raping her. At one point, she claims, she awoke to find herself threatened by a gun Masterson had pulled from a dresser.
Another victim claims she was raped in the home she shared with the actor during a multi-year relationship. When she resisted and tried to break free, Masterson hit her across the face, spit on her, raped her, and called her “white trash,” she said.
In the previous trial, the defense often hewed to an argument that jurors did their job and no more could have been asked of them. The prosecutor had reportedly found it “troubling” that jurors said they did not consider various witnesses and forms of evidence when making their decisions.
“It’s not that things were ignored that Mr. Mueller thinks were important or significant,” Cohen reportedly argued at the time, according to Variety. “It’s that things were discussed and not believed to be important to decision-making for some of the jurors.”
Law&Crime’s Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
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‘That ’70s Show’ star Danny Masterson found guilty in rapes
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