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Woman confirms Danny Masterson raped and strangled her in 2003

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman fainted while giving a striking testimony about the 2003 night on the witness stand Wednesday, and said she came out of unconsciousness to see actor Danny Masterson rape her.

She is the first of three women who say Masterson raped them to testify during the Los Angeles trial. She said at one point she grabbed her hair to push Masterson away, but pushed a pillow over Masterson’s face.

“I drowned,” she said, crying. “I couldn’t breathe.”

He then said he grabbed her throat to try to push her away but he held her down and started choking her.

When asked what the prosecutor was thinking at the time, he said, “He said he was going to kill me. That I’m going to die.”

He was crying at this time. After saying, “I can’t do that,” the judge took a short break and a court victims’ lawyer consoled him on the witness stand.

Back on the podium, he said Masterson had pulled a gun from his nightstand drawer and ordered him to be quiet when there was a commotion—and voices—at the door.

He said he lost consciousness during the night, despite only drinking half the fruity vodka drink Masterson had given him.

Masterson, 46, who was then the star of the Fox TV sitcom “That ’70’s ​​show,” has denied the rape accusation three times.

In the brief cross-examination before the trial closed for that day, questions from Masterson’s attorney, Phillip Cohen, suggested that he would contest his testimony Wednesday, with differences in the story Masterson told police in 2004 that did not lead to charges against Masterson.

He admitted that he skipped elements of the story at the time “to protect people”.

At a preliminary hearing last year, Masterson’s previous defense attorney emphasized that the 2004 LAPD report made no mention of a gun, alleging that each of the three women had reframed consensual sex as rape.

The Associated Press will not name names of people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come out publicly.

Sitting on the defense table in a suit, Masterson looked at her as he testified, but made no visible reaction. His wife, actor and model, Bijou Phillips, was sitting behind him in front of the gallery with a few family members and friends.

The 27-year-old woman was the best friend of Masterson’s assistant and part of the social circle of members of the same Church of Scientology.

She said she planned to go to Masterson’s house only to get a set of keys and that her relationship with Masterson was uneasy since the two had made love a few months ago, telling police she had given her consent in 2004 but decided later. had not consented. He returned to the police in 2016.

In his cross-examination, Cohen asked if Masterson had raped him the first time they had sex with him in 2004, and he replied “no”. When asked if this is his current position, he replied “no”. The court adjourned without further pressure.

All three of Masterson’s accusers were members of the Church of Scientology at the time they said they had been raped, but have since split up. Masterson remains a member. Before the trial, Judge Charlaine Olmedo said she would not allow Scientology to be a de facto defendant, 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 get too involved in religious discussions, an issue she had already warned Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller.

Scientology still arose. The woman said some of her mutual friends, after describing the initial incident with Masterson, gave so-called “information reports” stating that they were unhappy with her, and was summoned by an ethics officer, forcing her to make peace with him and take responsibility.

“You can never be a victim,” the woman said. “No matter what happens, you are always responsible.”

When asked if he still fears retaliation from anyone for making a claim about Masterson, he replied, “about half of this courtroom.”

He said he signed a confidentiality agreement with Masterson in 2004 and agreed to $400,000 for a year because otherwise the church would murder him as a “repressive person”. He said he had violated the agreement “about 50 times” since he signed it.

He said he expected to be at Masterson’s home, a social hub for his circle of friends, just a few minutes.

Masterson’s is one of the few experiments with #MeToo themes continues from coast to coast at the same time. These include Harvey Weinstein’s second rape and sexual assault case just down the hall, and civil suits filed in New York for actor Kevin Spacey and screenwriter and director Paul Haggis, both of whom were sued for sexual assault.

Scientology also has a key role in the trial of Haggis, a church dissident who was allowed to claim the institution was behind the allegations against him.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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