Jury Selection Begins in Danny Masterson Case

Jury selection got underway on Tuesday in the case of Danny Masterson, the former “That ’70s Show” actor who is facing 45 years to life on three charges of rape.

The selection process is expected to take about a week. The attorneys will ask the prospective jurors about their feelings on the #MeToo movement and the Church of Scientology, which will play a significant role in the trial. The defense is particularly concerned that jurors will come into court with a negative view of the church.

“We have almost a perfect storm of prejudice in this case,” defense attorney Karen Goldstein said on Monday.

Masterson is a member of Scientology, and all three of his alleged victims were members at the time of the alleged sexual assaults.

The defense wanted to ask extensive questions on the juror questionnaire, but Judge Charlaine Olmedo kept the survey relatively brief, saying she would allow more lengthy inquiry during voir dire.

Olmedo has tried to limit the amount of information about Scientology that is introduced at trial. She will allow the accusers to reference church doctrines in explaining why they did not initially report the alleged rapes to police.

On Monday, she also allowed the prosecution to introduce a Scientology ethics book. At the preliminary hearing in 2021, prosecutors argued that the book shows that the church discourages members from going to the police. The defense and the church have denied that Scientology has such a policy.

On Tuesday, an initial panel of jurors was given questionnaires and then sent home. Selection will resume on Wednesday. Opening statements are expected on Oct. 18.