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Prosecutor in Danny Masterson Rape Trial Says Actor "Thought He Was Going To Get Away with It"
Masterson's That ’70s Show costars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher wrote letters to the judge in support of him, but have since apologized following a backlash.
One of the prosecutors in Danny Masterson's rape trial says he believes that the actor “always thought he was going to get away with it."
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller said of Masterson's victims in an interview with People that, “It's been a long time coming for them to get their justice."
The former That ’70s Show star was sentenced on September 7 to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women two decades ago at his California home.
Mueller called the sentence “absolutely the right decision," referring to Masterson's crimes as “predatory in nature as well as opportunistic.”
The actor, 47, was charged in 2020 with raping three women between 2001 and 2003. He was convicted in May in two of the instances during a retrial, after a mistrial was declared by a previous jury in 2022. Masterson's wife, fellow actor Bijou Phillips, teared up during the sentencing hearing.
The two rapes he was convicted of occurred in 2003 at Masterson's Hollywood Hills home, however, the jury failed to agree that he'd raped a longtime girlfriend.
Mueller said that Masterson was “consistent in the manner in which he forcibly raped each of his victims.”
How did Danny Masterson overpower his victims?
“He surreptitiously drugged the victims using an alcoholic beverage as the vehicle for administration, and then forcibly raped them as they became incapacitated,” the Los Angeles County deputy district attorney told People. "This afforded him the opportunity to obtain control and dominance over his victims as he carried out his forcible assaults."
What substance did Danny Masterson use to drug his rape victims?
Since toxicology tests were not done on the victims, there's no definitive proof of what they were drugged with. But “our suspicion is that the drug used was GHB, based largely on the nature of the consistent symptoms experienced and rapid onset," Mueller said. The deputy district attorney added that prosectors had an "experienced toxicologist testify to the typical nature and side-effects of various date rape drugs that commonly existed within the social scene during the time period of when these rapes occurred." The toxicologist "testified to her expert opinion that the physical and mental symptoms experienced by these victims is not consistent with consumption of the amount of alcohol, alone," Mueller said.
What did Danny Masterson's victims say during his sentencing hearing?
Masterson reportedly showed no visible reaction when hearing statements from his victims about how they suffered in the years since they were raped. “When you raped me, you stole from me,” one woman whom Masterson was convicted of raping in 2003 said at the hearing. “That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.” She added, “You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent. The world is better off with you in prison.”
Which That ’70s Show actors wrote letters to the court in support of Danny Masterson?
Two of Masterson's most famous That ’70s Show costars — Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, who are now a married couple — are among the Hollywood figures who wrote letters to the judge in the actor's rape trial in support of him. Kunis starred as Jackie Burkhart on the sitcom that ran from 1998 to 2006, the girlfriend of Masterson's character, Steven Hyde, while Kutcher played Hyde's pal Michael Kelso. Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith — who played Kitty and Red Forman on the show, the parents of Hyde's best bud Eric, whose basement he lived in — also wrote letters of support.
What did Mila Kunis' and Ashton Kutcher's letters of support for Danny Masterson say?
Both Kunis and Kutcher wrote that their former colleague impacted their lives as young actors by consistently discouraging the recreational use of drugs. “Throughout our time together, Danny has proven to be an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me,” Kunis wrote, according to NBC News. “His caring nature and ability to offer guidance have been instrumental in my growth both personally and professionally.” She added, "He prioritizes his family, education, and happiness above all else, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to being a loving and responsible parent. As a father, he leads by example, instilling in her values that reflect integrity, compassion, and respect for others.”
Kutcher wrote in his letter that Masterson was a “dedicated and loyal” husband and an “excellent” role model. He added, “There was an incident where we were at a pizza parlor and a belligerent man entered who is berating his girlfriend. We had never met or seen these people before, but Danny was the first person to jump to the defense of this girl.”
What did Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher say in their apology for writing support letters for Danny Masterson?
After their letters to the judge in support of Masterson were made public and backlash ensued, Kunis and Kutcher explained what led to their notes, and apologized to his victims. "We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson," Kutcher began in a video posted to his Instagram account. "We support victims," Kunis chimed in. "A couple of months ago, Danny's family reached out to us and they asked us to write character letters to represent the person that we knew for 25 years, so that the judge could take that into full consideration relative to the sentencing," Kutcher added.
"The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury's ruling," Kunis said. Kutcher added that the letters were not intended to "undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatize them in any way... and we're sorry if that has taken place." Kunis concluded, "Our heart goes out to every single person who's ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape."
What did Christina Ricci say about victims after Danny Masterson's sentencing for rape?
On Saturday, two days after Masterson's sentencing and after Kunis and Kutcher's letters of support for him were made public, Ricci posted an Instagram Story that seemed to reference the case. "Sometimes people we have loved and admired do horrible things," Ricci wrote, according to a screengrab published by People. "They might not do these things to us and we only know who they were to us but that doesn't mean they didn't do the horrible things and to discredit the abused is a crime."
"People we know as 'awesome guys' can be predators and abusers," Ricci added. "It's tough to accept but we have to. If we say we support victims — women, children, men, boys — then we must be able to take this stance."