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Actor Danny Masterson‘s sexual assault trial was declared a mistrial on Wednesday, with the jury unable to reach a unanimous verdict on three criminal counts after several days of deliberations.
The jurors informed L.A. Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo on Wednesday afternoon that they were “deeply divided” and could not reach a verdict, per our sister site Deadline, and the judge shortly thereafter formally declared a mistrial. Masterson faced up to 45 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.
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Masterson, known for his work on That ’70s Show and The Ranch, was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear in June 2020, regarding separate incidents of sexual assault against three women that allegedly occurred at Masterson’s home between 2001 and 2003. Masterson pleaded not guilty to all three charges in 2021, and the trial got underway on Oct. 19 of this year; Masterson declined to testify during the proceedings.
On Nov. 18, after nearly three days of deliberations, the jury told Olmedo that it could not reach a unanimous decision on any of the three counts against Masterson. Olmedo said at the time that the jurors had not deliberated long enough to declare a mistrial and ordered deliberations to resume after the Thanksgiving holiday. Then, on Nov. 28, two jurors were replaced by alternates after testing positive for COVID-19, and Olmedo instructed the new panel to start their deliberations over, “as if the earlier deliberations had not taken place,” per Variety.
In 2017, Netflix fired Masterson from The Ranch after he was accused of raping four women in the early 2000s. During the show’s Part 5 finale, his character, Rooster Bennett, was threatened at gunpoint and forced to leave town; Rooster was later killed off in a freak motorcycle accident in Part 6.
“I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch,” Masterson said in a statement at the time. “From Day 1, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit… In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused. I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all.”
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