A judge ruled that Danny Masterson’s rape trial will proceed after his lawyers tried to argue that the alleged crimes fall outside the statute of limitations.
The “That 70s Show” actor was charged in June with rape by force or fear after a three-year investigation. The prosecution alleges that he raped three women on separate occasions in the early 2000s. He is currently out on a $3.3 million bail and continues to deny the charges against him.
Masterson, 44, was represented by his lawyers Thomas Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. They argued that the three charges of rape he’s facing allegedly occurred between 2001 and 2003, outside the statute of limitations, and should therefore be tossed out of court, according to Variety.
The outlet reports that the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Masterson under the state’s “one strike” sex offense law, which allows for a potential life sentence for certain sex offenses, including allegations involving multiple victims. Judge Eleanor Hunter sided with the prosecution and ruled that the case will move forward on Nov. 2.
Attorneys for Masterson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The judge also rejected a move by the defense to keep the media out of the courtroom during the trial, on the basis that it would create an unfair prejudice for Masterson, Deadline reported.
The actor was fired from the Netflix series “The Ranch” in 2017, shortly after allegations came to light. He is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman in 2001, according to the complaint. He is also accused of raping a 28-year-old woman in 2003, and "sometime" between the months October and December of that year he is accused of also raping a 23-year-old woman, whom the actor invited into his Hollywood Hills home, according to a news release from the DA's office.
In a statement to Fox News at the time, Masterson's attorney Tom Mesereau said his client “is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify.”
“Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out," Mesereau continued in the statement. "The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.