Actor Danny Masterson Accused of Drugging and Raping Three Women at His Home in Retrial

Actor Danny Masterson stands accused of drugging and raping three women at his Hollywood home between 2001 and 2003, according to the prosecutor’s opening statement at the start of his retrial.
Danny Masterson

Reinhold Mueller, the Deputy District Attorney, claimed Masterson had added substances to drinks given to his former girlfriend and two women from his Church of Scientology friend circles, all of whom he is charged with raping.

During the first trial, the direct discussion of drugging was absent, and Mueller had to infer it from the women’s testimony, describing how they felt woozy, disoriented, and unconscious on the nights of the alleged assaults. However, at the second trial, the judge is allowing direct assertion of drugging.

Masterson’s defense team denied the prosecution’s claims, stating they had no evidence of drugging. The defense pointed out that there were no forensic reports since the police investigation began 15 years after the events.

Despite the lack of evidence, Mueller said he would call an analyst from the police toxicology unit to explain how some common date rape drugs work and their side effects. Masterson’s attorney, Philip Cohen, argued that a toxicologist could opine whatever they wanted, but there was no urine, blood, or DNA evidence.

Cohen also argued that the women’s stories were similar and that they had “cross-pollinated” the details of their accounts, communicating with each other multiple times even after the detective warned them against it. He added that the young actress Masterson is charged with raping did not mention drugging at the time but only after the investigation began. Cohen also accused the women of “tainting the case against Masterson.”

The trial has echoes of the Bill Cosby case, where women testified to similar experiences. Danny Masterson, a prominent member of the Church of Scientology, faces a potential 45 years in prison if convicted. Mueller told jurors that the women did not immediately go to the authorities because they were told not to by officials in the Church of Scientology, who claimed what happened to them was not rape.

In the retrial, Olmedo is allowing expert witnesses to testify on the church’s policies, which differs from the first trial. However, Cohen claimed that the prosecution’s expert, Claire Headley, was biased against the church, while the defense expert was her father-in-law, a current high-level Scientologist.

Actor Leah Remini, a former Scientologist who has become the church’s most prominent detractor on social media and through a TV series featuring dissident ex-members, sat in the front row of the courtroom in support of Masterson’s accusers. Danny Masterson, who has been free on bail since his 2020 arrest, sat at the defense table, surrounded by supporters, including his wife, Bijou Phillips, and his brother, Christopher Masterson.

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