LOS ANGELES — A woman collapsed on the witness stand Wednesday while giving vivid testimony about a night in 2003 when she said she emerged from unconsciousness to find actor Danny Masterson who raped her.
She is the first of three women to say Masterson raped her in order to testify during his Los Angeles trial. She said she once grabbed Masterson’s hair to pull him away, but he pushed a pillow over her face.
“I was suffocated,” she said, crying. “I couldn’t breathe.”
She said she later grabbed his throat to try to push him away, but he held her and began choking her.
When prosecutors asked what she thought at the time, she replied, “That he was going to kill me. That I would die.”
At this point she was crying. After she said, “I can’t do this,” the judge called for a brief pause, and a court victim support attorney comforted her on the witness stand.
When she returned to the witness stand, she testified that when there was a commotion — and voices — at the door, Masterson pulled a gun from a drawer in his bedside table and told her to be quiet.
She said she kept passing out throughout the night despite only drinking about half of a fruity vodka drink Masterson gave her.
Masterson, 46, who was at the time a star of the Fox TV sitcom That ’70s Show, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape.
In a brief cross-examination before the end of the trial, questions from Masterson’s attorney, Phillip Cohen, suggested he would challenge her over differences in the story she told police in 2004, which did not lead to charges against Masterson, and her testimony Wednesday .
She acknowledged that she left elements of the story out at the time “to protect people.”
At a preliminary hearing last year, a former Masterson defense attorney stressed that no gun was mentioned in the 2004 LAPD report and claimed the three women each misinterpreted consensual sex as rape.
The Associated Press does not credit people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly.
Masterson, sitting at the defense table in a suit, looked at the woman as she testified but showed no visible reaction. His wife, actor and model Bijou Phillips, sat behind him at the front of the gallery along with some of his family members and friends.
The then 27-year-old woman was best friends with Masterson’s assistant and part of the same social circle of Church of Scientology members.
She testified that she had only intended to go to Masterson’s house to pick up a bunch of keys and that her relationship with Masterson had been troubled since the two had sex several months earlier, an incident she told police in 2004 , but was later decided she had not consented. In 2016 she returned to the police force.
In his cross-examination, Cohen asked if it was her position in 2004 that Masterson raped her the first time they had sex, and she replied “no.” When asked if that was her position now, she also answered “no”. The court adjourned before he could press her any further.
All three of Masterson’s accusers were members of the Church of Scientology when they say they were raped, but have since left. Masterson remains a member. Judge Charlaine Olmedo said before the trial that she would not allow Scientology to be de facto indicted but would allow limited discussion of it.
Before the woman took the stand on Wednesday after she began testifying on Tuesday, the judge warned her not to stray too far in discussions about religion, an issue she had already admonished Assistant District Attorney Reinhold Mueller on.
Scientology kept popping up. The woman testified that some of their mutual friends filed so-called “knowledge reports” signaling their dissatisfaction with her after she told them about the initial Masterson incident, and she was subpoenaed by an ethics officer, who compelled her to cum to make peace with him and take responsibility.
“You can never be a victim,” said the woman. “No matter what happens, you are always responsible.”
When asked if she still fears retaliation from anyone for speaking out about Masterson, she replied, “About half the courtroom.”
She testified that she signed a non-disclosure agreement with Masterson in 2004 and accepted $400,000 over the course of a year because otherwise the church would disguise her as a “suppressive person.” She said she had violated the agreement “about 50 times” since signing it.
She testified that she only expected to be at Masterson’s house, a social hub of her circle of friends, for a few minutes.
Masterson’s is one of several #MeToo-themed processes running simultaneously from coast to coast. These include Harvey Weinstein’s second rape and sexual assault trial just around the corner and civil trials in New York for actor Kevin Spacey and screenwriter-director Paul Haggis, both of whom are being sued on sexual assault charges.
Scientology also plays an important role in the trial of Haggis, a dissident church who is allowed to argue that the institution is behind the allegations against him.
Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
https://abc7.com/danny-masterson-rape-trial-testimony-court/12356488/ Danny Masterson’s accuser collapses on the witness stand and gives graphic testimony about alleged rape