After Setbacks, Danny Masterson Is Choosing Not To Take The Stand In Trial

Danny Masterson on The Ranch
(Image credit: Netflix)

Danny Masterson’s rape trial in Los Angeles has been in motion for the past few weeks and is now nearing its conclusion. The case has been filled with a number of notable developments, including a surprising witness testimony for the prosecution, which proved to be helpful for the defense. Despite that though, Masterson and his team have faced a number of setbacks amid the legal proceedings. And as the case prepares to close, it’s being reported that the actor has chosen not to take the stand.

It was on Monday that the Ranch star revealed that he would not testify in his trial, according to Rolling Stone. As the news outlet notes, it’s not uncommon for defendants to make this kind of decision in a case like this one. However, there have been recent instances in which individuals have chosen to take the stand. Kevin Spacey and director Paul Haggis did that very thing, with Spacey not being found liable and Haggis losing his case.

Danny Masterson was formally charged with three counts of forcible rape in 2020, with Jane Does claiming that the actor sexually assaulted them between 2001 and 2003. Masterson, who has denied the allegations on multiple occasions, faces 45 years to life in prison if he is convicted. The actor and his attorneys have arguably experienced their biggest setbacks whenever they've attempted to call for a mistrial.

One of the earliest instances of that occurred when opening statements were given. Masterson’s lead lawyer, Philip Cohen, argued that one of the plaintiff’s testimonies could’ve induced bias, thus justifying a mistrial. Judge Charlaine Olmedo denied that request and struck down another one during the second week of the trial. Cohen tried once more to get the case dismissed on Monday but was unsuccessful. 

The That ‘70s Show alum isn’t the only person who hasn’t seen things play out the way that he’d like. The Church of Scientology, which was sued alongside the star in 2019, has also run into difficulties. The alleged sexual assault victims filed suit against the church for purportedly stalking them after they came forward with their claims against the now-46-year-old actor. During his own testimony, veteran rock star Cedric Zavala claimed that he and his wife (one of the Jane Does) were shadowed by the organization for years. The church has tried other methods to stop the case from going to court like trying to enforce a religious arbitration, though that tactic failed multiple times.

Scientology itself has played a pretty substantial role in the rape case, to the point that Judge Olmedo took issue with just how much it came up during the opening statements. She was adamant that the trial would not be “inundated with Scientology.” But an ex-Sociologist disagrees with that notion, since the defendant and the accusers – who were part of the church when the alleged incidents took place – have had such firm ties to the religion. 

Closing statements in the trial are set to begin this week, and one has to wonder whether Scientology will be brought up again as both sides say their piece. And with Danny Masterson having opted not to speak, we can only speculate as to how that decision may ultimately factor into the jury’s eventual verdict.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.