Danny Masterson will face charges of rape, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled Monday.
In a masked and socially distanced hearing this morning in downtown L.A., Judge Eleanor Hunter rejected the defense stance that the case against the former That ’70s Show star should be tossed under the statute of limitations. Represented by his lawyers Thomas Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum, Masterson was not present at the hearing.
Accused back in June of three counts of forcible rape, Masterson is out on a $3.3 million bail. If convicted as charged on assaulting the three women, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison.
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division, who is prosecuting the case, said all of the alleged crimes occurred at the defendant’s Hollywood Hills home in 2001 and 2003.
As agreed among the attorneys and the L.A. County DA today, Masterson will be in court November 2 for his arraignment.
At the time of the warrants this summer, 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.”
During today’s hearing, Hunter also rejected a move by the defense to keep the media out of the courtroom. Appelbaum argued without success that the presence of the press in the high-profile case “creates an unfair prejudice for the defendant.” Prosecutors from Jackie Lacey’s office had “no objection” to media requests to be the courtroom.
Masterson was co-starring with former ’70s Show castmate Ashton Kutcher on Netflix’s The Ranch in December 2017 when news of the rape allegations surfaced, prompting his departure from that series.
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