Danny Masterson, who was recently charged with the rape of three women, made his first court appearance on Friday in a Los Angeles courtroom where his lawyer maintained his innocence and claimed the charges against him were ” politicized ”.
The ‘That’ 70s Show ‘alumnus appeared before a judge on Friday in a dark blue suit with a gray tie and face covering as the three accusers sat in the gallery.
The 44-year-old man was arrested in June but was released on $ 3.3 million bail.
Masterson did not plead. However, Tom Mesereau, a member of his legal counsel, said that the charges against Masterson by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey were based on events that occurred nearly 20 years ago, and furthermore have claimed they were applied by pressure to prosecute Masterson as Lacey faces an election, as well as the result of unfair hype.
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“There have been repeated attempts to politicize this matter,” said Mesereau, who has also represented Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson in their cases of sexual misconduct. “He is absolutely not guilty and we will prove it. ”
Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller called the statements “pure speculation with no factual basis.”
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Mesereau spoke as the judge considered requests to allow media cameras in court, which he approved.
Mesereau argued that the media presence would be unfairly prejudicial to Masterson and taint potential jurors.
“We want to do everything we can to tone down the cameras and the circus atmosphere that have permeated this case,” the lawyer said. “We are just trying to protect his rights. ”
Superior Court Judge Miguel T. Espinoza also dismissed a defense request for a protective order sealing cases and preventing police, prosecutors and potential witnesses from revealing information about the case to the media, but has said he would reconsider a similar request later.
The defense filed documents asking that the criminal complaint against Masterson be dismissed as insufficient. A hearing on the matter will take place before Masterson is invited to plead.
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Masterson’s arrest came after a three-year investigation that resulted in rare lawsuits against a famous Hollywood figure during the #MeToo era. Despite dozens of investigations, most have not resulted in any charges due to lack of evidence or the passage of time.
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