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Danny Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life in Rape Case: A Look into the Trials

Actor Danny Masterson arrives at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 for his retrial for allegedly raping three women between 2001 and 2003.

Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Danny Masterson, renowned for his role in “That '70s Show,” was handed a prison sentence ranging from 30 years to life on Thursday, following his conviction on two charges of rape, announced Deputy D.A. Reinhold Mueller of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Masterson faced the harshest possible “aggregate” penalty for the convictions, as stated by Mueller. The 47-year-old actor was adjudged guilty on two out of three rape counts in late May and was incarcerated subsequently. The third charge remained undecided as the jury could not reach a consensus.

The allegations, originating from incidents reported to have taken place at Masterson’s residence between 2001 and 2003 involving three women, led to Masterson pleading not guilty post his 2020 arrest. The recent sentence is a result of the second trial which started on April 24 and was handed over to the jury for deliberation on May 17. This trial saw Deputy D.A. Ariel Anson and Deputy D.A. Mueller prosecuting, while defense attorneys Shawn Holley and Philip Cohen represented Masterson.

Despite the conviction, Masterson's defense remains unyielding, vowing to appeal the judgment. "We are very disappointed in the sentence the judge handed down today,” Holley remarked, maintaining Masterson’s innocence and expressing confidence in overturning the convictions with the help of eminent appellate lawyers.

The litigation history notes a preceding trial in October 2022 that ended in a mistrial the following month due to a deadlock in jury deliberations.

Alison Anderson, who legally represented two out of the three complainants, admired her clients’ fortitude in enduring two demanding criminal trials. Similarly, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón praised the courage exhibited by the victims and aspired for the verdict to embody a precedent encouraging others to come forward, voicing his commitment to curbing predatory behaviors in Hollywood.

Masterson’s career, characterized notably by his portrayal of Steven Hyde on “That '70s Show” alongside Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Laura Prepon, Topher Grace, and Wilmer Valderrama, finds itself marred amidst the serious allegations. His collaboration with Kutcher extended to Netflix's “The Ranch” until 2016, but faced cessation owing to the arising allegations, a decision that left Masterson “very disappointed.”

The public first became aware of the allegations in March 2017 through a revelation by journalist Tony Ortega on his platform “The Underground Bunker”, pinpointing an ongoing investigation on Masterson by the Los Angeles Police Department.

As the legal processes unfold further, the focus remains on the impact of this sentencing on the victims and its broader implications on safety and justice in the Hollywood industry. The case stands as a significant moment, reflecting the continued efforts in ensuring accountability and promoting a safe environment for all.

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