US actor Danny Masterson, the former star of ‘That ’70s Show‘, was on Wednesday convicted on two counts of rape, according to a report in Variety. The jury could not reach a verdict on a third rape charge, the outlet further said. It was the second rape trial for Masterson, after previous proceedings were declared a mistrial last November when a different jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision. The actor was taken into custody following the verdict, and is awaiting sentencing. He could face 30 years to life in prison.
Shortly after the judge read out the verdict, there was an audible gasp from family members of Masterson, who were seated in the audience, the Variety report said.
Masterson faced trial after being accused of raping three women between 2001 and 2003 at his Hollywood Hills home. While the actor was convicted for raping two women in 2003, a verdict in the 2001 case involving his former girlfriend could not be reached.
A hearing is now set for August 4 where Masterson is expected to be sentenced, according to Variety.
His wife Bijou Phillips was seen sobbing in the front row of the audience.
Variety also carried a statement from one of the victims, known in court as Jane Doe 2. “I am experiencing a complex array of emotions – relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness – knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behaviour,” she said in the statement.
The actor, now 47, rose to fame with the 1998 launch of retro sitcom ‘That ’70s Show‘, where he played the character of Steven Hyde alongside fellow stars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.
He co-starred again with Kutcher on Netflix’s ‘The Ranch‘, but was fired in 2017 and written off the show after Los Angeles Police confirmed they were investigating multiple rape allegations against the actor.
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