Danny Masterson was spotted for the first time as his sexual assault retrial begins.
The actor, 47, was seen leaving a Los Angeles courthouse on Monday, April 17, with his legal team by his side. Masterson took a lunch break on the first day of jury selection, which comes five months after a judge declared a mistrial due to a deadlock.
“While we are disappointed with the outcome in this trial, we thank the jurors for their service,” a spokesperson for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said in a statement to Us Weekly in November 2022. “We also want to give our heartfelt appreciation to the victims for bravely stepping forward and recounting their harrowing experiences. We also are thankful for the hard work of the prosecution team and we will now consider our next steps as it relates to prosecuting this case.”
According to Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo, the jurors voted seven times over two days and were unable to reach consensus on any of the three counts of rape.
The That ‘70s Show alum’s legal troubles initially made headlines in 2017 when he was accused of sexual assault by multiple women. Masterson, for his part, denied the allegations against him.
“From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit,” the Men at Work alum, who shares a daughter with wife Bijou Phillips, told Us in a statement at the time. “I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.”
In June 2020, Masterson was charged with three counts of rape. He was released on a $3.3 million bail shortly after his arrest and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The New York native’s sexual assault trial started in October 2022 after his several attempts to have the charges dismissed. Masterson, who declined to testify, faces a maximum of 45 years to life in a state prison.
Ahead of the retrial, Masterson attempted to dismiss the case again. “It appears there are many other witnesses the People could choose to call or different arguments the People could choose to make,” Olmedo said in a January statement about the discussion to have a second trial. “A different outcome at a retrial is at least a possibility.”
That same month, Ashton Kutcher broke his silence on his former costar and friend’s legal woes. “Ultimately, I can’t know. I’m not the judge. I’m not the jury. I’m not the DA. I’m not the victim. And I’m not the accused,” the entrepreneur, 44, told Esquire about the controversy surrounding Masterson. “And so, in that case, I don’t have a space to comment. I just don’t know.”
Kutcher, who worked with his That ‘70s Show costar on Netflix’s The Ranch ahead of the accusations, said he hoped Masterson will “be found innocent of the charges brought against him.”
The Iowa native noted that it was hard to watch Masterson’s legal battle play out. “Someday, his kid is going to read about this,” he added. “I wholesale feel for anybody who feels like they were violated in any way.”