Danny Masterson’s rape trial has entered its second week, and the proceedings seem to be getting even more tense. When the trial kicked off last week, things got off to a rough start, as the judge took issue with the opening statements. Now, at the top of this week, the case has been rocked by a surprising witness testimony. Not only that, but Masterson’s defense team (once again) asked for a mistrial. This time as a result of the individual’s statements.
Today, the judge and jury heard from Shaun Fabos, who was a friend of Jane Doe 1 (or Jen B) and worked for her parents around the time that Danny Masterson allegedly sexually assaulted her. Per Variety, though he was called upon to speak on behalf of the prosecution, his testimony seemingly provided a leg-up for the defense. Fabos mentioned that he went on a trip to Florida with Jen B and her family, something he previously mentioned to an investigator for the defense but never to the prosecution. The plaintiff said that after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Masterson in 2003, she had bruises on her hip and wrist. However, Fabos – who was allegedly told about the purported incident shortly after it happened – claims that such markings were not present on her body during the group excursion.
Shaun Fabos was said to be “evasive at times” while on the stand, and Judge Charlaine Olmedo compared him to a “gang witness.” That term refers to one whose testimony could change depending on who’s present for it. Ultimately, Olmedo dubbed him a “hostile witness,” which gave the prosecution the ability to ask him leading questions. Phillip Cohen, the That ‘70s Show alum’s lead defense attorney, eventually called for the aforementioned mistrial. According to Deadline, Cohen’s request, which was ultimately denied, was based on the witness’ perceived level of credibility:
During his testimony, the witness also notably mentioned that he’d grown up in the Church of Scientology but had only really adapted the religion “in the last two years.” The church has been a major topic of discussion in the case thus far, and was a major reason why the judge was unhappy with the opening statements. Early on, she declared that the “trial is not going to be inundated with Scientology.”
Danny Masterson was first investigated by police in 2017, before being formally charged with rape in 2020. Four women sued him and the Church of Scientology in 2019, alleging that they’d been stalked after going public with claims against the star. (The church tried a number of tactics to stop the case from going to court.) In 2021, Jen B testified against Masterson and claimed that he sexually assaulted her at his home in 2003. Masterson has pleaded not guilty.
The case is expected to continue everyday this week, except for Wednesday. The trial will include testimony from a number of others, including Lisa Marie Presley, before it formally concludes on November 19.
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