On Monday, the jury at the rape trial of That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson was told to start deliberations again, after two jurors were dismissed because they tested positive for COVID-19.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo has replaced the jurors with two alternates, leaving only one alternate left. The jury, which was previously made up of seven women and five men, is now six men and six women.
Judge Olmedo told the court on Monday morning that the new panel must start the deliberations "as if the earlier deliberations had not taken place," according to Variety.
Variety reported that Masterson's defense attorney, Philip Cohen, objected to replacing the jurors and made a motion for a mistrial, but it was denied.
The news comes as the jurors had just returned from a week off after they announced on Nov. 18 that they were deadlocked after three days of deliberations.
The jurors informed the court that they could not reach a verdict on any of the three rape counts against Masterson, and they were told to resume deliberations on Monday, Nov. 28.
Masterson, 46, is facing three counts of rape by force or fear for allegedly sexually assaulting three women at his Hollywood Hills home in 2001 and 2003. In each incident, the women say that Masterson supplied them with alcohol and that when they became disoriented, he took them upstairs to his bedroom and violently raped them.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed that he only had consensual sex with the women.
Over the course of about four weeks, jurors heard graphic testimony from the three women Masterson is charged with raping, the detectives who investigated their allegations, and people who recalled hearing about them.
Jurors also heard from a fourth woman who accused the actor of sexual assault and whose testimony echoed that of the other alleged victims.
The Church of Scientology has taken center stage in the trial because Masterson himself is an active member of the church, and all three of the victims were Scientologists at the time of the alleged assaults.
During the trial, prosecutors described how the women feared they would be ostracized from the institution, and friends and family who belonged to it, if they reported the allegations to the police.
The three women said church officials threatened to excommunicate them if they reported the incidents to the police and made them feel like they — not Masterson — were responsible for the alleged assaults.
Masterson chose not to testify during the trial, and his attorneys did not call any witnesses to the stand. He faces 45 years to life in prison if convicted of all three counts of rape.