Actor Danny Masterson, only acknowledged for his role within the hit assortment That ’70s Present, has appeared in court docket accused of raping three females within the early 2000s.
He is charged with raping the females, who were all of their 20s, between 2001 and 2003.
Mr Masterson, 44, denies the costs and has argued he used to be being persecuted for his high-profile membership of the Church of Scientology.
If convicted, the actor would possibly perchance well well face up to 45 years in jail.
Free on $3.3m (£2.5m) bail since his arrest in mid-June, Mr Masterson made his first court docket look over the allegations in Los Angeles on Friday.
While the actor did no longer enter a plea, his lawyer, Tom Mesereau, mounted a engrossing defence of his client, dismissing the costs in opposition to him as politically motivated.
The lawyer accused Los Angeles County District Lawyer Jackie Lacey of filing the costs for political make sooner than a list to preserve her put up in a November election.
“There were repeated makes an strive to politicise this case,” acknowledged Mr Mesereau, who also defended Michael Jackson in opposition to sexual misconduct allegations in a old case. “He is largely no longer responsible and we’re going to represent it.”
Ms Lacey is yet to comment, nonetheless Deputy District Lawyer Reinhold Mueller pushed aside Mr Mesereau allegations as “counterfeit” and “pure hypothesis, and not using a foundation in actuality”.
Friday’s court docket hearing used to be attended by all three of Mr Masterson’s accusers, while about 20 of the actor’s supporters stood out of doors the court, unable to enter resulting from coronavirus rules.
The allegations in opposition to Mr Masterson first came to light in 2017, when the #MeToo circulation that impressed females to slip public with misconduct allegations used to be gathering momentum.
Mr Masterson used to be eradicated from The Ranch – the Netflix comedy wherein he starred – over the allegations.
At the time, Mr Masterson denied the “contaminated allegations” and vowed to clear his title “as soon as and for all”.
“Obviously, Mr Masterson and his wife are in full shock titillating in that these nearly 20-yr-aged allegations are main to costs being filed, nonetheless they and their household are comforted incandescent that in a roundabout diagram the truth will come out,” his lawyer Mr Mesereau acknowledged in an announcement.
The costs came after a 3-yr investigation by the Los Angeles Police Division. Prosecutors did no longer file costs in two other instances resulting from insufficient evidence and the statute of obstacles expiring.
Mr Masterson has been married to the actor and model Bijou Phillips since 2011.
That ’70s Present – which also starred Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis – ran from 1998 to 2006, gaining corpulent global success.