Danny Masterson is trying to avoid his day in court.
The That 70s Show alum has been charged with allegations of forcibly raping three women between 2001 and 2003. He was officially charged almost a year ago in June of 2020, but accusations against him have been public knowledge for years before that. The allegations even led to his firing from the Netflix series The Ranch back in 2017.
Considering how long it’s been and how staunchly he and his legal team have maintained his innocence all this time, you’d think they’d be prepared to finally argue their case. But according to TMZ, he’s asking for more time to prepare a defense… and he’s pinning the blame for it on Leah Remini.
Per legal docs obtained by the outlet, Masterson claimed the ex-Scientologist has had it out for him ever since he accused her of “religious bigotry” back in 2016. His team argued she’s been “influencing the prosecution and LAPD detectives to work against him” since then.
The documents claimed Leah urged his three anonymous accusers (all referred to as Jane Doe) to make their reports to the LAPD. While Jane Doe 1 came forward with what the 45-year-old called “baseless allegations” 12 years ago, Jane Does 2 and 3 (both of whom he described being romantically involved with) didn’t come out with their allegations until after he called out the King of Queens star.
Masterson accused Leah of “[guiding] the Jane Does as they spoke with prosecutors and even … ‘correcting’ their statements by piping in during the interviews,” TMZ reported. On top of that, he called the prosecution “starstruck” by Remini and cast suspicion over her relationship to the LAPD because she has hired police for her own personal security. The documents purported an anti-Scientology bias in the investigation, “so he’s asking the court for more time to combat it, gather more info, and prepare his defense,” per TMZ.
In the interest of objectivity, the ex-Scientologist has definitely been involved in the case against Masterson. She interviewed two of his accusers on the finale of her A&E series Scientology and the Aftermath, and has been a major proponent of bringing legal cases against the church. She was even present in the courtroom when Masterson was initially charged. She told Tamron Hall in October 2020:
“It’s not a celebratory moment for anyone. However… it’s taken a lot of work for the survivors to get to this point. And I have never been in a courtroom in that capacity, and I was there as a support system to one of the survivors, and brave women who were speaking out and doing something about it. I wasn’t really prepared for… again, I’m shocked at every turn at Scientology and their tactics.”
Whether or not Masterson’s filing is correct that Leah has exerted more influence over the case than simply supporting the survivors remains to be seen. However, we should point out that since she was there when he was charged a year ago (and that episode of Aftermath came out in 2019), it doesn’t seem like a very good reason to be delaying the case now. If he wanted to drag her into the proceedings, he’s had ample time to develop that argument.
It almost seems like he may have ulterior motives for delaying… but according to the New York Daily News, the judge in his case is determined to hold the preliminary meeting “within the statutory period,” so we’re not sure he’ll be able to wiggle his way out of it. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this case regardless.
[Image via Joseph Marzullo/WENN/FayesVision]