Danny Masterson's Rape Case Declared A Mistrial Following Juror Replacements

Rooster in The Ranch
(Image credit: Netflix)

Former That '70s Show and The Ranch actor Danny Masterson was on trial for multiple counts of rape for more than a month, but the case has come to a halt due to the judge declaring a mistrial. The decision came after some complications with the jury, when two members had to be replaced due to positive COVID tests, and the deadlock was not changed.

On November 30, the jury in the Danny Masterson trial (comprised of ten of the original jurors and the two alternates added after the positive COVID tests) was unable to reach a verdict about the three counts of forcible rape, according to Deadline, which could have resulted in up to 45 years in a state prison if he received a guilty verdict. Masterson pleaded not guilty to the charges of rape that allegedly happened between 2001 and 2003, claiming that they were consensual.

The jury was said to be hung on all three counts, with the outlet reporting that ten jurors thought him not guilty and two thought he was guilty on the first count, eight thought him not guilty and four thought him guilty on the second count, and seven thought not guilty and five thought guilty of the third count. The jury's decision could not be unanimous, and mistrial was declared when they were unable to reach a verdict following deliberations. 

The mistrial announcement comes just two days after the jury returned from the Thanksgiving break, as The Associated Press reported back on November 18 that Judge Charlaine Olmedo of the Los Angeles Superior Court had decided to give them the week of Thanksgiving off from their deliberations. At that point, the jury had already deliberated for three days and said they were deadlocked. 

Then, on November 28, The Associated Press shared that two jurors had to be dismissed upon the return from Thanksgiving break due to COVID diagnoses. Two alternate jurors were added, but the case remained deadlocked enough that the judge declared the mistrial two days later. The decision came after almost three weeks of testimony, with closing arguments heard on November 15. Masterson has remained out on a $3.3 million bail since he was charged in 2020.

The judge was said to be unhappy with the opening statements all the way back in October (which included a request for a mistrial), and Danny Masterson's defense team continued pushing for a mistrial in just the second week of the trial. The former actor himself decided not to take the stand and testify on his own behalf. 

According to the report from Deadline, Judge Olmedo stated that a retrial date has been set for March 27, 2023 and a hearing set on January 10. The trial was complicated from the beginning by Scientology as a topic of discussion.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).