After a short debate, the jury remained deadlocked in the sexual assault case against former That ’70s Show star Danny Masterson. Unable to agree on a verdict for any of the three charges of rape by force or fear, the judge declared a mistrial, per Variety.
The former actor was accused of rape during some of the years he was starring in the show, between 2001 and 2003.
Masterson was arrested in June 2020 and charged with three separate counts; he pled not guilty in 2021. The trial began on October 19, and Masterson declined to testify. On November 15, the jury began deliberations, but three days later, they told the judge they could not come to a unanimous decision. This was not enough time for deliberations to declare a mistrial, so the judge sent them back to continue discussions after the Thanksgiving break. Two jurors came down with COVID-19 during the break. Alternates replaced them and they were told to begin deliberations from the top.
Two and a half days later, they returned to the judge, still unable to make a unanimous decision, and a mistrial was declared. The judge has set the retrial date for March 27, 2023, with a hearing set for January 10. Masterson remains free on a $3.3 million bail.
Two of his victims, Jane Doe #2 and Jane Doe #3, released a statement following the mistrial.
“We would first like to thank the jury for its public service. We are obviously disappointed that, at least for the time being, Daniel Masterson has evaded criminal accountability for his deplorable acts,” they noted. “However, we are collectively resolved to continue our fight for justice, including in civil court, where we have alleged that Mr. Masterson, along with the Church of Scientology, its leader David Miscavige, and others conspired to systematically stalk, harass, and intimidate us when we sought to shed light on Mr. Masterson’s actions. This legal fight is far from over, and it is critical that we reckon with Scientology’s alleged role in covering up reports of abuse and threatening victims.”
Masterson faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.