Actor Danny Masterson, greatest identified for his position within the hit collection That ’70s Present, has appeared in courtroom accused of raping three girls within the early 2000s.
He’s charged with raping the ladies, who have been all of their 20s, between 2001 and 2003.
Mr Masterson, 44, denies the fees and has argued he was being persecuted for his high-profile membership of the Church of Scientology.
If convicted, the actor may resist 45 years in jail.
Free on $3.3m (£2.5m) bail since his arrest in mid-June, Mr Masterson made his first courtroom look over the allegations in Los Angeles on Friday.
Whereas the actor didn’t enter a plea, his lawyer, Tom Mesereau, mounted a vigorous defence of his shopper, dismissing the fees in opposition to him as politically motivated.
The lawyer accused Los Angeles County District Legal professional Jackie Lacey of submitting the fees for political achieve forward of a bid to retain her submit in a November election.
“There have been repeated makes an attempt to politicise this case,” mentioned Mr Mesereau, who additionally defended Michael Jackson in opposition to sexual misconduct allegations in a earlier case. “He’s completely not responsible and we’ll show it.”
Ms Lacey is but to remark, however Deputy District Legal professional Reinhold Mueller dismissed Mr Mesereau allegations as “false” and “pure hypothesis, with no foundation actually”.
Friday’s courtroom listening to was attended by all three of Mr Masterson’s accusers, whereas about 20 of the actor’s supporters stood outdoors the courtroom, unable to enter as a result of coronavirus laws.
The allegations in opposition to Mr Masterson first got here to gentle in 2017, when the #MeToo motion that impressed girls to go public with misconduct allegations was gathering momentum.
Mr Masterson was faraway from The Ranch – the Netflix comedy through which he starred – over the allegations.
On the time, Mr Masterson denied the “outrageous allegations” and vowed to clear his identify “as soon as and for all”.
“Clearly, Mr Masterson and his spouse are in full shock contemplating that these almost 20-year-old allegations are out of the blue leading to fees being filed, however they and their household are comforted understanding that finally the reality will come out,” his lawyer Mr Mesereau mentioned in an announcement.
The costs got here after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Division. Prosecutors didn’t file fees in two different instances as a result of inadequate proof and the statute of limitations expiring.
Mr Masterson has been married to the actor and mannequin Bijou Phillips since 2011.
That ’70s Present – which additionally starred Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis – ran from 1998 to 2006, gaining enormous worldwide success.