Danny Masterson’s retrial on charges that he raped three women will start on April 11, a Los Angeles judge has ruled. The decision comes after a mistrial was declared in November after the jurors said they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”
In January, judge Charlaine Olmedo rejected Masterson’s request that she dismiss the case. Defense attorney Philip K. Cohen had argued a reasonable jury wouldn’t be able to return a conviction based on the same evidence. He stressed jurors favored acquittal on each of the charges: 10 to two, eight to four and seven to five.
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Olmedo moved the start of the trial from March 27 to April 11 to accommodate witnesses. The three Jane Does, all former Scientologists, are expected to testify again.
The Church of Scientology played a prominent role in the first trial. The trio of Jane Doe accusers testified they were threatened with excommunication and told not to go to the police with their accusations. One of the accusers ended up reporting her rape to law enforcement after becoming disheartened with the church’s internal justice system.
The D.A.’s office also plans to introduce expert testimony about the impact trauma, alcohol and drugs can have on memory. During the trial, prosecutors portrayed Masterson as a serial rapist who used drugs and alcohol to assault women in his orbit.
Additionally, prosecutors said they’re continuing to look for a witness who can corroborate statements from Jane Doe 3, who has publicly identified herself as Chrissie Carnell Bixler. (Bixler’s civil trial against Masterson is currently stayed pending resolution of the criminal case.)
A status conference in the case is scheduled for March 6. Jury selection is currently set to start on April 11.
Feb. 16, 6:15 pm. Correction: a previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the prosecution will put less of a focus on the Church of Scientology.