Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis wrote letters to a judge saying they considered fellow "That '70s Show" actor Danny Masterson a "role model" before he was sentenced Thursday to 30 years to life in state prison for raping two women at his Hollywood Hills home about two decades ago.
Kutcher and his wife, Kunis, who also appeared on "That '70s Show" with Masterson between 1998 and 2006, each credited Masterson for his commitment to his wife and daughter and for discouraging the use of drugs.
Kutcher wrote in a letter to Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo that he was 20 when he met Masterson in 1998 and "he instantly became a friend, dedicated co-worker, and role model to me. And has remained as such for 25 years."
Kutcher wrote in the letter that Masterson is "an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being," that the two spent hundreds of hours working together and "set an extraordinary standard around how you treat other people."
He wrote that he and Masterson, the father of a 9-year-old daughter with actress-wife Bijou Phillips Masterson, "have spent countless hours together with our kids and he is among few people that I would trust to be alone with my son and daughter."
"While I'm aware that the judgment has been cast as guilty on two counts of rape by force and fear and the victims have a great desire for justice, I hope that my testament to his character is taken into consideration in sentencing. I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would (be) a tertiary injustice in and of itself."
In her letter to the judge, Kunis wrote that she "could sense his innate goodness and genuine nature" from the very beginning after meeting him and that he has "proven to be an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me."
"I wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson's exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him. His dedication to leading a drug-free life and the genuine care he extends to others make him an outstanding role model and friend," wrote Kunis.
Also writing letters in support of Masterson were fellow "That '70s Show" co-stars Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith. Other celebrities also wrote letters about Masterson, including actor Giovanni Ribisi and Masterson's brother-in-law, actor Billy Baldwin.
During Masterson's sentencing hearing Thursday, the judge noted that she had received a number of letters on behalf of Masterson and had read all of them.
The judge told the 47-year-old actor shortly before imposing the sentence that she knew that he was "sitting here steadfastly on your claims of innocence."
"Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here," the judge said, telling him that his actions had taken away another person's voice and choice and that the victims each reported the rapes to someone shortly afterward.
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