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Danny Masterson Rape Case Ends in Mistrial After Jury Deadlock

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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.

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THAILAND: Rescue Dig Saves Toddler Trapped In Well For One Night

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BANGKOK, Thailand — A 19-month-old girl fell into a dry artesian well shaft at a cassava farm in northern Thailand 18 hours before she was saved. It took rescuers all night to get her out.

Rescuers clapped and cheered as the toddler, the daughter of Myanmar migrant workers, was pulled from the 15-meter (49-foot)-deep well shaft and placed on a stretcher that carried her to an ambulance waiting nearby.

“You guys did an excellent job. “We did it!” exclaimed one rescuer as his colleagues wept and hugged each other in Tak province’s Phop Phra district.

While her parents were working at the plantation, the child fell into the hole late Monday afternoon.

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Rescuers In Thailand Were On The Scene Quickly

The deep pit, dug by the landowner to be an artesian well, was left uncovered after it failed to reach groundwater, according to Phop Phra district chief Sanya Phetset on Tuesday.

According to local media, the first rescuers on the scene shouted down the hole and heard the child cry back. After lowering a camera into the hole to assess the situation, a tube was snaked to provide oxygen.

Using backhoes and other excavation tools, rescuers dug a 30-centimeter-wide trench alongside the pit overnight.

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The Child Is Now Safe And Sound

“At first, it appeared to be a simple operation because it appeared to be loose dirt, but once we started digging, we discovered rock, which made it difficult because excavators cannot dig through it,” Sanya explained.

He explained that the operation was risky because the digging could collapse the well’s sides onto the child.

After being carried to safety, the toddler was immediately taken to Phop Phra Hospital in Thailand.

“She is now safe. “She’s a little tired, but nothing serious,” Sanya explained.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

Pope Francis has clarified his recent remarks about homosexuality and sin, stating that he was referring to official Catholic moral teaching, which states that any sexual act other than marriage is a sin.

In a Friday note, Francis emphasized that even black-and-white teaching is subject to circumstances that may eliminate the sin.

Francis made the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press on January 24, stating that laws criminalizing homosexuality are “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

As he often does, Francis then imagined a conversation with someone who brought up the issue of the church’s official teaching, which states that homosexual acts are sinful or “intrinsically disordered.”

“All right, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said in the fictitious conversation. “It is also a sin not to be charitable to one another.”

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Pope asked for Clarification.

LGBTQ advocates hailed his comments calling for decriminalizing homosexuality as a watershed moment that would help end harassment and violence against LGBTQ people. However, his use of the word “sin” raised questions about whether he believed that simply being gay was a sin in and of itself.

The Reverand James Martin, an American priest who runs the Outreach ministry for LGBTQ Catholics in the United States, asked Francis for clarification and published the pope’s handwritten response late Friday on the Outreach website.

In his note, Francis reiterated that homosexuality “is not a crime” and that he was trying “to emphasize that criminalization is neither good nor just.”

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which states that every sexual act other than marriage is a sin,” Francis wrote in Spanish, emphasizing the final phrase.

However, in a nod to his case-by-case approach to pastoral ministry, Francis noted that even teaching is subject to the circumstances, “which may decrease or eliminate the fault.”

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Sex is a Sin, as is Any Sexual Act

He admitted he could have been more specific in his comments to the AP. However, he stated that he was using “natural and conversational language” in the interview, which did not necessitate precise definitions.

“As you can see, I was generally repeating something. ‘Sex is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of the bonds of holy marriage,’ I should have said. This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sexual sin, but we all know that Catholic morality considers not only the matter but also freedom and intention, and this for all types of sin,” he said.

According to Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws, 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty. According to experts, even when laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigma, and violence against LGBTQ people.

According to Catholic teaching, marriage is a lifelong bond between a man and a woman. It restricts intercourse with married couples and prohibits artificial contraception.

During his decade-long pontificate, Francis has upheld that teaching while prioritizing outreach to LGBTQ people.

Pope Francis has emphasized a more merciful approach to applying church doctrine, preferring to accompany rather than judge people.

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

In an internal memo, a four-star general in the United States Air Force stated that the US and China risk going to war in two years and advised officers under his command to prepare, including with target practice.

According to NBC, General Mike Minihan, head of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, believes the fight will take place in 2025 but hopes he is wrong. He claimed that presidential elections in the United States and Taiwan in 2024 would allow China to take action against Taiwan.

According to NBC, a Defense Department official stated that the remarks do not represent the Pentagon’s position on China. According to an Air Mobility Command spokesperson, the memo is part of the command’s effort to prepare for conflict if deterrence fails.

The administration of President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed concern about China’s military buildup and what the US perceives to be a more aggressive Chinese stance toward Taiwan.

According to the administration’s national security strategy, China is the only US competitor “with the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do so.”

China has slammed the latest US defense spending bill, which allows up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, for exaggerating the China threat and meddling in its internal affairs.

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Blinken Conerned Over Taiwan and China

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about Beijing’s intentions regarding Taiwan as he prepares for a rare visit to Beijing, China.

When asked if the temperature had cooled with China during a visit to the University of Chicago, Blinken replied, “I think so because when you’re talking and engaging, it tends to have that effect.”

“The rest of the world anticipates that we will manage this relationship responsibly. “They understand that how we manage it will also impact them,” he said.

According to Taipei Times, Blinken will visit Beijing from February 5 to 6, marking the first US secretary of state visit to the rising Asian power since October 2018.

The trip was decided after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping () met in November in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss wide-ranging disagreements between the world’s two largest economies.

Blinken, on the other hand, expressed concern about Taiwan, citing Beijing’s growing efforts to isolate the country and major military exercises conducted near it in August.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is, I believe, China deciding that it was no longer comfortable with the status quo, a status quo that had prevailed for decades and had been successful in terms of our countries’ relationship and managing what a difficult situation is,” he said.

“What we say to China is that — they say this is a sovereign issue for us; we respond that this is an interest to the United States and countries all over the world,” Blinken said, referring to Taiwan’s dominance in semiconductors, which is critical to the global economy.

Any disruption of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait would be disastrous for the global economy, he said, adding that 50 percent of container ships operating around the world pass through the Taiwan Strait and that Taiwan manufactures 70 percent of higher-end computer chips.

Blinken was in Chicago for a trip that included a stop at the city’s historic Ukrainian community to discuss the response to Russia’s invasion.

By: Geoff Thomas

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

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