Connect with us

News

Danny Masterson Rape Case Ends in Mistrial After Jury Deadlock

Published

on

Danny Masterson Rape Case Ends in Mistrial After Jury Deadlock

A judge declared a mistrial in the rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson on Wednesday after jurors deadlocked following the monthlong trial in which the Church of Scientology played a supporting role.

Prosecutors allege that Masterson raped three women, including a former girlfriend, in his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003 and that the church kept them quiet for years. Masterson, 46, pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer stated that all acts were consensual.

“I find the jurors hopelessly deadlocked,” Judge Charlaine Olmedo declared after the jury foreman stated that the court could do nothing to move them closer to a unanimous decision. She scheduled a retrial in Los Angeles Superior Court for March.

Olmedo had ordered jurors to take Thanksgiving week off and continue deliberating after they said they couldn’t reach an agreement on Nov. 18. A jury of six women and six men resumed deliberations on Monday after two jurors were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the break.

According to the foreman, the jury voted seven times on Tuesday and Wednesday without deciding on any of the three counts. Two jurors supported conviction on the first count, four on the second count, and five on the third count.

As a result, prosecutors and the three women who said they were seeking long-overdue justice and gave emotional and graphic testimony over several days suffered a significant setback.

“Masterson has evaded criminal accountability for his deplorable acts,” two of the alleged victims in the case said in a statement. However, we are determined to continue our fight for justice.”

Danny Masterson Rape Case Ends in Mistrial After Jury Deadlock

At the time, all three women were church members, and Danny Masterson is still one.

Two of the women and one of their husbands are suing Masterson, the Church of Scientology, its leader, David Miscavige, and others for allegedly stalking, harassing, and intimidating them after they attempted to expose Masterson.

Masterson walked out of the courtroom with his wife, actress and model Bijou Phillips, without speaking to reporters. Members of his showbiz family, his sisters-in-law, actor Mackenzie Phillips, singer and actress Chynna Phillips, and her husband, actor William Baldwin, accompanied him to court for several days.

The proceedings took place amid a flurry of #MeToo-related cases on both coasts, including Harvey Weinstein’s trial in Los Angeles, just down the hall from Masterson’s. In New York, Kevin Spacey won a sexual misconduct lawsuit brought by actor Anthony Rapp, and in a civil case there, a jury ordered director and screenwriter Paul Haggis to pay $10 million.

But, as with the Haggis trial, the specter of Scientology overshadowed the #MeToo implications, despite the judge’s insistence that the church not become a de facto defendant.

According to Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller, the church attempted to silence the women, which is why the case took two decades to reach trial.

Danny Masterson Rape Case Ends in Mistrial After Jury Deadlock

Masterson’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, claims the church was mentioned 700 times during the trial and claims it became an excuse for the prosecution’s failure to build a credible case against Masterson, a prominent Scientologist.

According to Karin Pouw, a church spokesperson, Mueller misrepresented church doctrine and beliefs, and Jane Does make false claims about Scientology.

“There is absolutely no truth to any of the testimony that the church harassed or stalked the Jane Does,” Pouw said.

Cohen stated that he would file a motion to dismiss the case based on the jury’s decision. He stated that jurors provided additional beneficial insights after the mistrial ruling, but he refused to discuss what they told him.

“As a lawyer, you always wonder if what you’re doing in court every day is making any inroads… with the jury,” Cohen explained. “We made inroads.”

The district attorney’s office expressed disappointment with the outcome and said it would consider its next steps. It praised the women for “stepping forward bravely and recounting their harrowing experiences.”

Jurors were led out of the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

Masterson did not appear in court. Cohen did not present any defense testimony, instead focusing on inconsistencies in the accounts of the three accusers, whom he claimed changed their stories over time and spoke with each other before going to the police.

During closing arguments, Cohen stated, “The key to this case was not when they reported it.” “That’s what they said when it was reported, what they said after reporting it. And what they said in court.”

Masterson, according to Mueller, was a man “for whom ‘no’ never meant ‘no.'”

Danny Masterson Rape Case Ends in Mistrial After Jury Deadlock

Masterson allegedly served two women drinks, causing them to become woozy or pass out before being violently raped. One woman said she thought she would die as Masterson covered her face with a pillow.

An ex-girlfriend claimed she awoke to find Masterson having sex with her against her will. According to the defense, her claims were undermined because she later had sex with him after they split up.

Cohen told jurors that if they believed Masterson “actually and reasonably believed” the women consented to have sex, they could acquit him.

Mueller countered that no one would believe the acts described were consensual, reminding jurors that one woman told him “no,” pulled his hair, and tried to get out from under him repeatedly.

Mueller warned jurors not to be swayed by defense speculation and said contradictions in the victims’ testimony were signs of authenticity rather than scripted accounts.

The charges stem from when Masterson was at the pinnacle of his career, starring as Steven Hyde on Fox’s “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006. The show, which made Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Topher Grace stars, is getting a Netflix reboot with “That ’90s Show.”

Masterson re-joined Kutcher on the Netflix comedy “The Ranch” but was fired when an LAPD investigation was revealed in December 2017.

World

Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

Published

on

zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky claims 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The Ukrainian president stated that he would not disclose the number of wounded because it would facilitate Russian military plans.

Typically, the Ukrainian government do not release casualty counts, and other estimates are significantly higher.

The defence minister said half of all Western aid to Ukraine had been delayed, costing lives and land.

Mr Zelensky said on Sunday that he would provide an updated death toll in reaction to Russia’s inflated estimates.

zelensky

Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

“31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have killed in this conflict. Not 300,000, 150,000, or whatever Putin and his dishonest circle claim. But each of these losses is a significant loss to us.”

Speaking about the war’s overall losses, Mr Zelensky stated that tens of thousands of civilians had been killed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, but the exact figure was unknown.

“I don’t know how many of them died, how many were killed, how many were murdered, tortured, how many were deported.”

Ukraine rarely reports a military death toll, and other estimates suggest a far higher figure.

In August, US officials estimated that 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, with up to 120,000 injured.

In terms of Russian losses, Mr Zelensky stated that 180,000 Russian soldiers were killed and tens of thousands more injured.

BBC Russian, in collaboration with the Mediazona website, has identified the names of more than 45,000 Russian servicemen who have perished. However, it thinks that the total number is larger than that.

In February, the UK military ministry claimed that 350,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or injured.
President Zelensky’s speech came after his defence minister, Rustam Umerov, chastised the country’s

Western partners for delays in military assistance.

“At the moment, commitment does not constitute delivery,” he added.

Ukraine is currently facing several setbacks in its efforts to expel Russia from its land.

Mr. Umerov stated that the lack of supplies put Ukraine at a greater disadvantage “in the mathematics of war”.

“We do everything possible and impossible but without timely supply it harms us,” he told reporters.
Germany warned in November that the European Union’s (EU) promise to provide a million artillery shells by March would not be met.

zelensky

Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

In January, the EU stated that little over half of these would reach Ukraine by the deadline, but the promised total would arrive at the end of 2024.

President Zelensky stated that a lack of armaments was one of the reasons Ukraine’s much-anticipated counter-offensive last year began later.

That counter-offensive was mostly unsuccessful, one of several failures for Kyiv following early victories in repelling Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Last week, it was revealed that Ukrainian troops had withdrawn from the strategic eastern town of Avdiivka, Moscow’s largest victory in months.

Mr Zelensky further blamed the situation on dwindling Western military shipments.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has claimed that the hold-up in Congress over a $60 billion aid plan for Ukraine led to the town’s fall.

Western leaders travelled to Kyiv on Saturday to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine as it marked two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

There was an announcement that Italy and Canada had inked security agreements with Ukraine, increasing support until the country could join NATO.

Canada’s agreement comprised more than three billion Canadian dollars (£1.7 billion) in financial and military assistance.

zelensky

Ukraine War: Zelensky Says 31,000 Troops Killed Since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

It is not only Ukraine that is having difficulty funding its military activities. Western diplomats say Russia is also straining to send ammo and weaponry.

“Russia’s domestic ammunition production capabilities are currently insufficient for meeting the needs of the Ukraine conflict,” according to a Western diplomat.

They also stated that Moscow has only been able to augment its supply by exploring alternative sources of ammunition and weaponry, which provides a short-term answer.

Meanwhile, the director of Ukraine’s security service stated on Sunday that 47 Russian spy networks operating within Ukraine were discovered last year.

Vasyl Malik further stated that around 2,000 suspected “traitors” have been arrested since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

SOURCE – (BBC)

Continue Reading

World

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Published

on

kiptum

NAIROBI, Kenya – Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya’s world marathon record holder, was accorded a state funeral Friday after being killed in a vehicle accident earlier this month, prompting many Kenyans to call on the government to do more to protect the country’s famed sportsmen.

Hundreds of dignitaries, including Kenyan President William Ruto and World Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe, paid their final respects to Kiptum as he was interred in Naiberi, some 6 kilometres (4 miles) from his village of Chepkorio in western Kenya.

The 24-year-old runner and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died in a collision two weeks ago near the town of Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of a high-altitude region known as a training ground for Kenya’s and the world’s greatest distance runners.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum was one of the most promising road runners to emerge in recent years, breaking the world record in only his third competitive marathon outing. Just days before his death, the world track body World Athletics certified his record of 2 hours and 35 seconds achieved at the Chicago Marathon last October.

Kiptum intended to break the two-hour marathon record in Rotterdam in April and make his Olympic debut in Paris this year.

His death echoed throughout Kenya, where runners are the biggest sports heroes, and many people have become accustomed to tragedies involving their best athletes, with dozens dying in traffic accidents or as a result of domestic abuse.

According to officials, Kiptum was driving on the night of February 11 when the car went off the road into a ditch and collided with a huge tree. He and Hakizimana died instantly. Sharon Kosgei, another passenger, was also hurt in the incident.

Kiptum, an only child, leaves his wife, Asentah Cheruto, and their two children. A High Court on Thursday declined to postpone the funeral in response to a woman’s legal claim that Kiptum fathered her kid.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Kiptum ran the fastest as a marathon debutant in the 2022 Valencia Marathon. The next year, he won two of the world’s most prestigious marathons: London and Chicago. He set a new course record at the London Marathon in April; months later, he set the global record in Chicago.

He became the latest Kenyan celebrity to die in sad circumstances.

David Lelei, an All-Africa Games silver medalist, was killed in a car crash in 2010. Francis Kiplagat, a marathon runner, was among five individuals who died in a crash in 2018. Nicholas Bett, who won gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2015 World Championships, was also killed in a car accident in 2018.

Many Kenyans believe the government should do more to protect athletes who bring international attention to their country, such as providing them with security, drivers, and advisors.

Elizabeth Wairimu, a vegetable trader in the western Kenya town of Nakuru, said the number of athletes killed in road accidents was frightening.

“I am asking myself what is the problem with our athletes,” she said. “The government should look into this… figure out what is killing our athletes. Where are we headed?”

She expressed sadness that the government was rushing through the process instead of Kiptum, who had pledged to build a new house for his parents.

kiptum

Kenya Mourns As Marathon World Record-Holder Kelvin Kiptum Is Given A State Funeral

Others in the packed market agreed with Wairimu’s comments.

“The government should not wait until the legends are dead to start caring about their welfare,” said George Thuo, a market seller.

Jimmy Muindi, a six-time Honolulu Marathon winner from Kenya, believes young athletes who reach Kiptum’s level require assistance managing their newfound celebrity status. Former marathoner Isaac Macharia concurred, stating that a support system is required to develop stars.

Jack Tuwei, the president of Athletics Kenya, urged President Ruto and MPs to find a solution to secure the athletes’ well-being and “allow them to have everything they need to be safe.”

Ruto announced that an endowment fund would be established for athletes and that the government would provide Kiptum’s widow with another house and $34,000 in support.

SOURCE – (AP)

Continue Reading

World

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

Published

on

navalny

The body of leading Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been returned to his mother, according to his spokesman.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh thanked everyone who asked that the authorities hand over his remains.
“The funeral is yet to take place,” she wrote.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, was reportedly told to agree to a “secret” funeral. If she refused, he would be buried in the penal colony where he had died.

She had spent the previous week in the town near the prison where he died, attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of his remains before requesting that they be delivered to her.

After signing a death certificate stating that he died of natural causes, she was allowed three hours to settle on a “secret” burial for her son.

Ms Yarmysh claims his mother was warned that if she did not consent, he would be buried on the grounds of the prison where he had died.

However, Lyudmila appears to have declined to engage with the authorities.

Ms Yarmysh stated that the funeral plans were still unclear.

“We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with it being carried out in the way the family wants and as Alexei deserves,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband’s body “hostage” and demanded its unconditional release.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

“Give us the body of my husband,” she pleaded in a video message.

“You tortured him living, and now you continue to punish him in death. “You mock the remains of the deceased.”

Ms Navalnaya again accused the Russian president of being responsible for her husband’s death.
The Kremlin has dismissed the charges, calling the Western outrage to the killing “hysterical”.

Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison located inside the Arctic Circle.
Details concerning what happened to him are scant. His team has offered security officers €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) as a prize and aid in fleeing Russia in exchange for information concerning his death in custody.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

For years, he was the most prominent critic of Russia’s leader.

In August 2020, a team of would-be assassins from the Russian secret services poisoned Navalny with the Novichok nerve agent.

He was airlifted to Germany and recovered before being imprisoned upon his return to Russia in January 2021.

Attempts to commemorate his death have been greeted with a heavy-handed response from Russian authorities, with improvised monuments removed and hundreds jailed.

SOURCE – (BBC)

Continue Reading

Trending