Defense: Masterson rape case plagued by contradictions

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The rape allegations against actor Danny Masterson were so riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies that prosecutors in their case brought in the Church of Scientology to help close holes in her case, a defense attorney said Tuesday closing the arguments.

“If there are contradictions and inconsistencies, blame others,” said attorney Phillip Cohen. “We heard Scientology so much that it really became the best excuse.”

All three accusers and Masterson were members of the Church at the time of the allegations two decades ago, when the actor was at the height of his fame on the sitcom “That ’70s Show,” and Scientology loomed large in the Los Angeles trial. Superior Court.

“There are no charges against Scientology, but you can’t get around it,” Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller said in his rebuttal argument.

Mueller said the women delayed reporting the allegations because church rules prevented them from going to the police and if they told anyone else about what happened, they would be banned.

Although Masterson remains a member of the Church, the three women are not. They were afraid to testify because they were victims of harassment, harassment and stalking after they reported the crimes, Mueller said.

If the women’s statements were all consistent, it would have indicated they were scripted, Mueller said. He said inconsistencies often arise when victims of sexual assault have to relive their travails when they first speak to police.

“They have to reach into themselves and pull out that pain and trauma that they’ve buried within themselves,” Mueller said. “You may find some inconsistencies there.”

Masterson, dressed in a tan tweed suit, watched the judges from the defense table with no visible reaction. His wife, actor and model Bijou Phillips, sat behind him at the front of the gallery, along with several of his relatives and friends.

Jurors were sent to deliberate briefly at the end of the day before adjourning. The panel of seven women and five men will return to court on Wednesday morning.

Masterson, 46, is facing three counts of forcible rape. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The women testified that Masterson raped them at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. The defense said the acts were consensual.

The testimonies of the women – all referred to as Jane Does 1-3 – were graphic and emotional. A woman, a friend of Masterson’s personal assistant, said she vomited and passed out after he gave her a mixed drink. She said she regained consciousness to find Masterson having rough and painful sex with her.

A former girlfriend of Masterson’s said she woke up to discover he was having sex with her when she hadn’t consented.

Masterson did not testify and his attorney presented no evidence for the defense, instead focusing on how the women’s stories had changed over time.

“The key to this case is not when they reported it,” Cohen said. That’s what they said when they reported it. What they said after they reported it. And what they said during the trial.’

He said the prosecution’s depiction of Masterson as a “commanding scary, abusive monster” was undermined by testimony from his ex-girlfriend who said she voluntarily had sex with him after the alleged rapes.

“I get the theme: paint Danny like a monster. But when you look at the actual testimony, it tells us something different,” Cohen said. “This is the problem when you start to deviate from the truth.”

Mueller told jurors to stick to the evidence and not be guided by what he called defense speculation.

He scoffed at a statement Cohen made when he told jurors that they could acquit Masterson if they believed he “really and reasonably believed” the women consented to sex.

Mueller said no one would believe the acts described were consensual. He reminded them that a woman repeatedly told Masterson “no”, pulled his hair and tried to get out from under him.

Another woman said Masterson helped her throw up by sticking his finger down her throat, then told her she was disgusting and made her shower because she threw up in her hair, Mueller said.

“Then he puts her to bed, turns her over and hangs out with her,” Mueller said. “There is no reasonable belief (they) agreed. Absolutely not.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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