A Los Angeles Superior Court judge today denied bail pending appeal to convicted rapist Danny Masterson with worries the That 70s Show actor could make a run for it.
“If defendant’s conviction and sentence are upheld on appeal, he will likely remain in custody for decades and perhaps the rest of his life,” wrote Judge Charlaine Olmedo in an order Wednesday. “In light of the fact that defendant has no wife to go home to, defendant now has every incentive to flee and little reason to return to state prison to serve out the remainder of his lengthy sentence should his appeal be unsuccessful,” the judge added in reference to the ongoing divorce proceedings between Masterson and Bijou Phillips.
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Transferred to North Kern State Prison in late December, the 47-year-old Masterson is currently serving a 30-year to life sentence on dual rape convictions. Under present Golden State statutes, he will be eligible for parole in 20 years. Not long after Masterson was sentenced in September and taken into custody, Phillips, who had been in court every day for her husband and was a strong advocate for him, filed for divorce. The couple have a young daughter, who has been placed entirely in Phillips’ custody, a well-placed source tells Deadline.
Masterson was first arrested in 2020 over the then alleged assaults that occurred between 2001 and 2003. After his arrest, and during his first and second trials, The Ranch actor was out on bail of $3 million. When the damning guilty verdict was delivered on May 31, the potential “flight risk,” as the judge said at the time, was led out of court and into the nearby Twin Towers LA County jail by sheriff’s deputies.
Supported by prosecutors in the LA County District Attorney’s office, the decision by Judge Olmedo to deny the actor his freedom while he appeals came after a hearing this morning in DTLA’s Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
Having filed their intention to appeal for the client with the Court of Appeal on January 18, Masterson’s team clearly anticipated a different outcome from Judge Olemdo today.
“Defendant requests that this Court grant bail on appeal, and offers to comply with any relevant terms and conditions imposed by the Court that enable him to be an at-home parent and financial provider for his family, including house arrest and/or participation in an electronic monitoring program administered by the probation department,” Masterson’s new-ish attorneys Clifford Gardner and Eric Multhaup requested of Judge Olmedo in their January 17 motion.
As well as promising that Masterson possessed a “lack of dangerousness,” and would not be a flight risk if allowed out of prison during the appeal process, the duo said they now had “extensive exculpatory evidence that was not presented to the jury.” What that evidence is isn’t known as said evidence, which seemingly had to do in part with statements to the LAPD about Masterson, is presently under seal.
Judge Olmedo presided over both of Masterson’s rape trials.
With the first round ending in November 2022 with a mistrial, the That 70s Show actor was back in court in the spring of 2023. Containing testimony from all three of the women alleging they were sexually assaulted by Masterson plus others who claimed they were attacked by him, the second trial ended in May after a jury found Masterson guiltily of two counts of rape.
The Church of Scientology was not a formal defendant in Masterson’s criminal trial, but was constantly mentioned by prosecutors for its internal policies and role in a potential cover-up of the assaults by the actor of other members of the David Miscavige-led organization. However, along with Masterson, Scientology is a co-defendant in a civil harassment case by a number of the Jane Does from the criminal trial and members of their families.
As the Church now faces new potential RICO claims and Masterson faces more rape claims, that civil case is set to go to trial on September 22, 2025.
In fact, Judge Olmedo brought up that civil case as a part of her decision to refuse Masterson’s apparent. flawed bail request. “In addition to the change in his marital status, defendant’s related civil lawsuit is now proceeding forward with litigation,” she wrote. “Defendant failed to address or bring to this Court’s attention the fact that the civil litigation is proceeding and that defendant may be responsible for significant financial obligations in the form of attorneys fees and a potentially large monetary judgement against him. This fact further undermines the significance of defendant’s ties to the community and increases his risk of flight.”
A constant supporter of multi-generational Scientologist Masterson during his arrest and two trials, the Church is alleged to have declared the actor a “Suppressive Person” late last year, according to a person close to events.
The Scientology equivalent of excommunication, being declared an SP demands that an individual’s Church family members cut ties with them. Contacted by Deadline, the Church of Scientology did not respond to a request on Masterson’s status as a SP or otherwise. If and when they do, we will update this post.
Scientology and Masterson will meet up legally on February 13. That’s when a hearing in the civil case is set to take place in DTLA before LASC Judge Upinder Kalra on Scientology’s motion to strike large portions of the 2019 initially filed suit.
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