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'That 70s Show' Actor Danny Masterson Pleads Not Guilty To Raping 3 Women

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Actor Danny Masterson pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he raped three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.

Defense attorney Thomas Mesereau entered the plea on behalf of the 44-year-old actor.

Masterson was arrested back in mid-June on three counts of rape by force or fear. He has been free on $3.3 million bail since.

Actor Danny Masterson is arraigned on three rape charges in separate incidents in 2001 and 2003, at Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles, California, September 18, 2020. - The 44-year-old actor known for appearing on "That '70s Show" and "The Ranch" was ordered on September 18, 2020 to return to court October 19 for arraignment. (Photo by LUCY NICHOLSON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LUCY NICHOLSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Masterson, best known for his role as Steven Hyde on "That '70s Show," is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and another 23-year-old woman he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home later that fall.

The District Attorney's Office declined to file sexual assault charges against him in two other alleged incidents, citing insufficient evidence on one and the statute of limitations on the other.

In a statement at the time of his arrest, an attorney for Masterson said the actor and his wife were in "complete shock" over the allegations, adding, "Mr. Masterson is innocent and we're confident he'll be exonerated."

The criminal complaint alleges that Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman between January 2001 and December 2001.

He is also charged with raping a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home some time between October and December 2003, according to L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.

Shortly after the charges were announced, Mesereau released a statement saying his client "is innocent, and we're confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify."

"Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year-old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out," Mesereau said then. "The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false."

Back in December of 2017, Netflix announced that Masterson had been written out of the comedy "The Ranch" due to the allegations. The show, which also starred Masterson's former "That 70s Show" costar Ashton Kutcher, filmed for several more seasons without him.

The actor said then that he was "very disappointed" and "it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused." He also "denied the outrageous allegations" and said he looked forward to "clearing my name once and for all."

A civil suit was filed in August 2019 against Masterson and the Church of Scientology by four women who allege they were stalked and harassed after filing sexual assault allegations against the actor with Los Angeles police. That case has been sent to arbitration.

Masterson could face up to 45 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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