LOS ANGELES (AP) — A girl broke down on the witness stand Wednesday whereas giving graphic testimony a few 2003 night time when she mentioned she emerged from unconsciousness to search out actor Danny Masterson raping her.
She is the primary of three ladies who say Masterson raped them to testify throughout his Los Angeles trial. She mentioned at one level she grabbed Masterson’s hair to attempt to pull him away, however he shoved a pillow into her face.
“I used to be smothered,” she mentioned, crying. “I couldn’t breathe.”
She mentioned she later grabbed his throat to attempt to push him away however he held her down and started choking her.
Requested by the prosecutor what she was considering on the time, she replied: “That he was going to kill me. That I used to be going to die.”
By this level she was weeping. After she mentioned “I can’t do that,” the choose referred to as for a short break and a court docket victims’ companies advocate comforted her on the witness stand.
When she took the stand once more, she testified that Masterson pulled a gun from a drawer in his bedside desk and ordered her to be quiet when there was a commotion — and voices — on the door.
She mentioned that, all through the night time, she handed out and in of consciousness regardless of consuming solely about half of a fruity vodka drink Masterson had handed her.
Masterson, 46, who on the time was a star of the Fox TV sitcom “That ’70s present,” has pleaded not responsible to a few counts of rape.
Briefly cross-examination earlier than the trial ended for the day, questions from Masterson’s legal professional Phillip Cohen urged that he would problem her over variations within the story she instructed police in 2004, which didn’t result in prices for Masterson, and her testimony Wednesday.
She conceded that she omitted components of the story on the time, “to guard folks.”
At a preliminary listening to final 12 months, a earlier protection lawyer for Masterson emphasised that there was no point out of a gun within the LAPD report from 2004, and contended the three ladies had every reframed consensual intercourse as rape.
The Related Press doesn’t identify individuals who say they’ve been sexually abused until they arrive ahead publicly.
Masterson, sitting on the protection desk in a go well with, regarded towards the lady as she testified, however had no seen response. His spouse, actor and mannequin Bijou Phillips, sat behind him on the entrance of the gallery, together with a number of of his relations and buddies.
The lady, then 27, was the perfect pal of Masterson’s assistant and a part of the identical social circle of Church of Scientology members.
She testified that she had solely supposed to go to Masterson’s home to select up a set of keys, and that her relationship had been uneasy with Masterson because the two had intercourse a number of months earlier, an incident she instructed police was consensual in 2004 however later determined she hadn’t consented to. She went again to police in 2016.
In his cross-examination, Cohen requested whether or not it was her place in 2004 that Masterson had raped her the primary time that they had intercourse, and he or she answered “no.” Requested whether or not that was her place now, she additionally answered “no.” Courtroom adjourned earlier than he may press her additional.
All three of Masterson’s accusers have been members of the Church of Scientology on the time they are saying they have been raped, however have since left. Masterson stays a member. Choose Charlaine Olmedo mentioned earlier than the trial that she wouldn’t enable Scientology to turn into a de facto defendant, however would enable restricted dialogue of it.
Earlier than the lady took the stand Wednesday after starting her testimony Tuesday, the choose warned her to not stray too far into discussions of the faith, a difficulty she had already admonished Deputy District Lawyer Reinhold Mueller about.
Scientology nonetheless got here up. The lady testified that a few of her mutual buddies filed so-called “data stories” signaling their unhappiness together with her after she instructed them concerning the preliminary incident with Masterson, and he or she was summoned by an ethics officer who pressured her to make peace with him and take accountability.
“You’ll be able to by no means be a sufferer,” the lady mentioned. “It doesn’t matter what occurs, you’re at all times accountable.”
Requested if she nonetheless feared retaliation from anybody for coming ahead about Masterson, she replied “about half this courtroom.”
She testified that she signed a non-disclosure settlement with Masterson in 2004, and accepted $400,000 over the course of a 12 months, as a result of the church was going to tar her as a “suppressive particular person” in any other case. She mentioned she had violated the settlement “about 50 occasions” since signing it.
She testified that she had solely anticipated to be at Masterson’s home, a social hub for his or her pal circle, for a couple of minutes.
Masterson’s is considered one of a number of trials with #MeToo themes occurring concurrently on from coast to coast. They embody Harvey Weinstein’s second rape and sexual assault trial simply down the corridor, and civil trials in New York for actor Kevin Spacey and for screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, who’re each being sued for sexual assault.
Scientology additionally has a serious function within the trial of Haggis, a church dissident who’s being allowed to argue that the establishment is behind the allegations in opposition to him.