LOS ANGELES — Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, two of Danny Masterson’s best-known co-stars from “That ’70s Present,” went to bat for the convicted rapist earlier than he was hit with a 30 years to life jail sentence for sexually assaulting two ladies at his Hollywood Hills dwelling twenty years in the past.
So did different actors on the long-running sitcom, like Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith, in addition to his brother-in-law, actor William Baldwin, and brother/sister actors Giovanni and Marissa Ribisi, each of whom — like Masterson — belong to the Church of Scientology.
Forward of his sentencing Thursday, Masterson’s victims portrayed the 47-year-old as a predator in highly effective impression statements delivered to the courtroom. Following the sentencing, certainly one of Masterson’s legal professionals maintained his innocence and stated that the battle was removed from over: “The appellate legal professionals are assured that these convictions can be overturned,” he stated.
In letters to the courtroom submitted earlier than the sentence was issued, Kunis and Kutcher painted a portrait of the disgraced actor that was utterly at odds with the ruthless predator who “drugged and raped” helpless ladies that his victims described.
“All through our time collectively, Danny has confirmed to be a tremendous good friend, confidant, and, above all, an excellent older brother determine to me,” wrote Kunis, whose position as “Jackie” on the sitcom launched her to stardom. “His caring nature and talent to supply steering have been instrumental in my progress each personally and professionally.”
Kunis, who’s married to Kutcher, stated Masterson’s position “as a husband and father to his daughter has been nothing in need of extraordinary.”
“Witnessing his interactions together with his daughter has been heartwarming and enlightening,” she wrote. “He prioritizes his household, training, and happiness above all else, demonstrating his unwavering dedication to being a loving and accountable mother or father. As a father, he leads by instance, instilling in her values that mirror integrity, compassion, and respect for others.”
Kunis additionally credited Masterson for “his unwavering dedication to discouraging using medicine.”
“His affect on me on this regard has been invaluable,” she wrote. “In an business the place the pressures and temptations of substance use may be overwhelming, Danny performed a pivotal position in guiding me away from such harmful paths.”
Kutcher sounded the identical themes in his letter to the courtroom and referred to as Masterson an “wonderful” position mannequin and “devoted and dependable” husband. And whereas Masterson was portrayed as a predator by his victims, Kutcher described how he gallantly defended a defenseless lady.
“There was an incident the place we had been at a pizza parlor and a belligerent man entered who’s berating his girlfriend,” he wrote. “We had by no means met or seen these individuals earlier than, however Danny was the primary individual to leap to the protection of this lady.”
Masterson, Kutcher wrote, raised cash to assist first responders suffering from sicknesses after the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults, was variety to everybody on the set. He additionally stated he “by no means noticed my good friend be something aside from the man I’ve described.”
Kunis didn’t deal with the career-ending accusations in opposition to Masterson, however Kutcher did.
“Whereas I’m conscious that the judgment has been solid as responsible on two counts of rape by pressure and the victims have an awesome need for justice,” he wrote, “I hope that my testomony to his character is considered in sentencing. I don’t imagine he’s an ongoing hurt to society and having his daughter raised and not using a current father can be a tertiary injustice in and of itself.”
The letters surfaced a day after Los Angeles County Superior Courtroom Decide Charlaine Olmedo hit Masterson with a sentence that, except it’s efficiently appealed, just about ensures that the actor won’t be eligible for parole till he’s a senior citizen.
Watching the drama unfold was Masterson’s spouse Bijou Phillips, a mannequin and actor who was a continuing presence at her husband’s trials.
In her letter to the courtroom, Phillips stated her husband was “a life-saving companion to me.”
“Our daughter and I are heartbroken that he’s not dwelling with us,” she wrote. “It has been very troublesome with out him right here. Regardless that he’s now in jail, he calls her each day.”
Phillips, like all the opposite actors who wrote on behalf of her husband, additionally described Masterson as being vehemently anti-drug, saying he “by no means smoked a joint in his life.”
“I do know he has been convicted of great crimes,” she stated. “However the man I married has solely been a rare husband to me and a faithful father to our daughter.”
Baldwin, in his letter, buttressed Phillips’ declare that Masterson calls his daughter day by day from jail and stated he’s by no means identified anybody within the leisure business “extra beloved than Danny Masterson.”
“I do know that Danny has been convicted of a really severe crime and is going through a prolonged jail sentence,” he wrote. “The aim of this letter is to tell you in regards to the Danny Masterson that I do know. Danny the person, the good friend, colleague, member of the family, husband, and father. Issues that weren’t mentioned in courtroom however I believe are vitally essential so that you can know.”
Masterson’s youthful brother, Jordan, who can be an actor, stated that after their father left, Masterson grew to become a “pseudo father determine position for my little sister and me, although he was solely sixteen himself on the time.”
“My brother is taking a look at the remainder of his life in jail,” he wrote. “I pray that isn’t the end result.”
Masterson’s sister, Alanna, and brothers, Will and Chris, additionally praised their brother. May also made a degree of emphasizing that he’s not a Scientologist.
Giovanni Ribisi, who’s a Scientologist, wrote that Masterson was a “central determine in my peer group, due to his integrity, his stance in opposition to medicine, his abhorrence of violence and most of all of the respect he demonstrates towards ladies and kids.”
Different members of the Ribisi household additionally weighed in with testimonials to Masterson’s character, in addition to a number of Hollywood producer/writers.
As well as, a retired New York Metropolis police lieutenant named Steven Mona, who bought to know Masterson by way of his work on behalf of 9/11 first responders, wrote, “I’ve adopted the trials however what I heard runs counter to the person I’ve gotten to know.”
Rupp and Smith, who performed the mother and father of the Eric Forman character performed by Topher Grace on “That ’70s Present,” echoed the opposite actors’ reward for Masterson. However Smith went additional and stated Masterson behaved like a gentleman.
“I discovered that Danny handled all ladies on the present with respect, not solely the ladies within the solid, however ladies on the crew as properly,” he wrote.
Diana Dasrath and Julia Lee reported from Los Angeles, Corky Siemaszko from New York Metropolis.