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Danny Masterson to be re-tried on rape charges

Los Angeles prosecutors say they will re-try actor Danny Masterson on charges of raping three women. 

A downtown Los Angeles jury in November was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the three charges facing the "That '70s Show" actor, prompting a mistrial. 

A judge Tuesday rejected defense efforts to get the charges dismissed and scheduled jury selection in a new trial to begin March 29.

Masterson, 46, was charged in 2020 with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home. During last year's trial, jurors leaned in favor of acquittal on all three counts against him -- voting 10-2 on one count, 8-4 on another and 7-5 on the third, but were unable to reach a unanimous decision, leading to the

Defense attorney Philip Cohen told reporters after the mistrial was declared that he believes "this case has significant issues and I think the jury saw those issues." 

Masterson has been free on bail since his June 2020 arrest by the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division. 

In closing arguments Nov. 15, a prosecutor said Masterson used "force, fear or threats" to sexually assault the women and should be convicted of rape. But the actor's attorney countered that the alleged victims lied about their relations with the actor.

Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller told jurors that for Masterson, "No never meant no." Although the actor "looks like a well-groomed gentleman" in court, "he looks very different" to his alleged victims, the prosecutor said.

In arguing for an acquittal, Masterson's attorney told jurors that the prosecution wanted to "win this case so badly" that they ignored "blatantly fabricated" and inconsistent testimony from witnesses during the nearly month-long trial. 

"It's not just maddening, it's horrifying," Cohen said of the case against his client, adding that the alleged victims "have motivations to lie" on the witness stand. 

Masterson, a longtime adherent of the Church of Scientology, is charged with three counts of rape by force or fear involving the three women. The actor declined to testify in his own defense.

In December 2017, Netflix announced that Masterson had been fired from the Emmy-winning scripted comedy "The Ranch" amid sexual assault allegations.

The actor said then he was "very disappointed," and added that "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." 

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