Jury selection begins in actor Danny Masterson's rape trial

The jury selection process began Tuesday in the trial of actor Danny Masterson, who is charged with raping three women at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003.

Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo instructed a group of prospective jurors to fill out questionnaires that ask whether they have heard anything about the case against the actor, who is known for his work on the television series "That '70s Show" and "The Ranch."

Deputy District Attorneys Reinhold Mueller and Ariel Anson and defense attorneys Philip Cohen and Karen Goldstein introduced themselves to the potential panelists, with Masterson greeting them with, "Morning, everyone."

The judge told the group, "I'm sure some of you are wondering what this case is about and how long it will take. I'm not going to tell you that until tomorrow at 1:30."

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Another group of potential panelists are due in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday morning, when they are expected to be asked to fill out questionnaires.

Masterson, now 46, was charged in June 2020 with three counts of rape by force or fear.

He allegedly raped a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. He is also charged with raping a woman who was 28 at the time and a 23- year-old woman he had invited to his home some time between October and December 2003, according to Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.

Masterson is a longtime adherent of the Church of Scientology, and the alleged victims were also Scientology members.

He was arrested in June 2020 by the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Division, and remains free on $3.3 million bail.

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In December 2017, Netflix announced that Masterson had been fired from the Emmy-winning scripted comedy "The Ranch" amid sexual assault allegations.

The actor said then that he was "very disappointed" and "it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused." He also "denied the outrageous allegations" and said he looked forward to "clearing my name once and for all."

A civil suit filed in August 2019 against Masterson and the Church of Scientology by the three women involved in the criminal case and one woman who was not a member of the church alleges they were stalked and harassed after filing sexual assault allegations against the actor with Los Angeles police.

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The District Attorney's Office declined to file sexual assault charges against Masterson in two other alleged incidents, citing insufficient evidence on one and the statute of limitations on the other.