Opening statements within the Danny Masterson rape trial in Los Angeles are set to start Tuesday morning and will final 5 weeks as Hollywood celebrities with Scientology ties such as Lisa Marie Presley may take the stand.
Masterson, a member of the Church of Scientology, is going through three costs of forcible rape involving three victims who claimed the “That’s ’70s Present” actor sexually assaulted them in several incidents between 2001 and 2003.
On Monday, protection lawyer Philip Cohen requested potential jurors in regards to the “elephant within the room— Scientology.”
“I solely have one query for you as a bunch,” Cohen mentioned. “Mr. Masterson is a Scientologist. The three ladies, alleged victims have been Scientologists on the time of the incidents. Does Mr. Masterson’s former and present relationship, involvement and standing as a Scientologist have any influence on the way you view him with respect to the federal government’s burden of proving costs? That is one thing I actually need to know.”
Choose Charlaine Olmedo informed either side she expects a jury to be seated by mid-morning Tuesday and opening statements will start shortly thereafter. She informed jurors the trial is predicted to conclude on or earlier than November 18.
Based on the prosecution’s trial transient obtained by The Publish, the alleged victims have been offered alcoholic drinks throughout every encounter with Masterson and have been out and in of consciousness whereas the actor allegedly raped them.
The ladies additionally alleged that once they reported Masterson to Scientology officers, they have been dissuaded from going to police and as a substitute have been warned they’d be labeled as a “suppressive individual” within the Church, that means they’d be ex-communicated and now not have contact with their household or associates who’re members.
Masterson, 46, has denied the entire costs. He faces a jail sentence of 45 years to life if convicted of all costs.
Jane Doe 1 alleged Masterson forcibly raped her in April 2003, after she felt sick when she was in a scorching tub with Masterson and Lisa Marie Presley’s then boyfriend, Luke Watson.
Jane Doe 1, solely recognized as “Jen B” mentioned Masterson took her to a rest room inside the house and began assaulting her. Presley is purported to be the “Lisa” Jane Doe 1 referred to throughout her testimony at a Could 2021 preliminary listening to.
“Subsequently, defendant pulled Jen B. out of the bathe towards his mattress and hoisted her onto his mattress,” prosecutors wrote in a trial transient. “Jen B. handed out after being put onto the mattress. When she regained consciousness, she was on her again with the defendant on high of her penetrating her vagina together with his penis. Jen B. reached for the defendant’s hair to tug him off. She additionally grabbed a pillow that was behind her neck and pushed it in direction of the defendant’s face to push him off. Defendant pushed the pillow again onto Jen B’s face as he continued to penetrate her vagina.”
Choose Olmedo has mentioned she would enable some testimony in regards to the Church’s practices, for instance if it performed a job in delaying the alleged victims from going to the Los Angeles Police Division as a result of they’d be labeled a “suppressive individual,” which one of many accusers has alleged.
Jane Doe 2, solely recognized as “N. Trout,” mentioned she by no means reported the incident to the Church for concern of getting in bother, in line with prosecutors.
“They’ve insurance policies and so they open up a guide and present you … if in case you have a authorized scenario with one other member of the church, it’s possible you’ll not deal with it externally from the Church, and it’s very specific,” Jane Doe 2 testified beforehand. “You’ll lose every little thing, your loved ones, your pals that you just’ve made, your good standing with the Church, your good standing with society … They put you on ‘Blast’ as being a suppressive individual and you’re formally what’s known as ‘Declared.’”
Christina Bixler, who has publicly recognized herself as one among his accusers and known as “Jane Doe 3,” testified through the preliminary listening to that Masterson allegedly raped her at the least twice when she was courting and dwelling with the actor in his Hollywood Hills residence.
Throughout one incident in December 2001, Bixler mentioned she and Masterson had gone to dinner and he or she had one or two glasses of wine. Her subsequent recollection was waking up bare the subsequent morning, her total physique aching and her anus bleeding.
“I requested him, ‘What occurred final evening?’ I mentioned I didn’t have any reminiscence,” Bixler testified. “I mentioned, ‘I don’t know what’s flawed however my backside is injured.’
“(Defendant) laughed at me and mentioned he had intercourse with me there. And I requested him if I used to be unconscious and he mentioned, ‘Sure.’ And I mentioned, ‘The entire time?’ And he mentioned, ‘Sure..’”
Bixler and different victims filed a separate civil suit in August 2019 towards Masterson, the Church and different high-ranking Scientologists, together with Church chief David Miscavige.
Masterson and Church leaders tried to maintain the civil swimsuit out of courtroom, arguing the plaintiffs should undergo the Church’s arbitration course of first, which might be in entrance of a panel of Scientology members.
A California appeals court, however, disagreed and allowed the civil swimsuit to maneuver ahead.
Bixler, her husband Cedrick Bixler-Zavala, Marie Bobette Riales and two different nameless victims claimed they have been “systematically stalked” after they reported to police that the “That ’70s Present” actor had raped the ladies.
Scientology leaders additionally filed the case with the US Supreme Courtroom to dam the civil swimsuit from shifting ahead but SCOTUS declined earlier this month so as to add the case to their docket.
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