Attorney Shawn Holley spoke to reporters following Masterson’s hearing on Thursday, September 7, alleging that “a top team of appellate lawyers” found “a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues” in transcripts from the trial.
“The errors which occurred in this case are substantial and unfortunately, led to verdicts which are not supported by the evidence,” Holley claimed, per footage shared by Deadline. “And though we have great respect for the jury in this case and for our system of justice overall, sometimes they get it wrong. And that’s what happened here.”
Holley argued her client “did not commit the crimes for which he has been convicted,” asserting that she and a team of “the best and the brightest” appellate lawyers “are confident that these convictions will be overturned.”
Masterson was charged with three counts of rape by force or fear in June 2020, three years after initially being accused of sexual assault by multiple women. He was released from custody on $3.3 million bail shortly after his arrest with an arrangement hearing set for September 2020.
The actor, best known for his role on That ’70s Show, fervently denied the accusations before pleading not guilty to all charges in January 2021. He was ordered by a judge that May to stand trial, with all three of Masterson’s accusers testifying in a preliminary hearing.
Court proceedings began in August 2022 but ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Masterson’s returned to court in April and was found guilty on two counts of rape one month later.
During Thursday’s hearing, Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. “Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s choice and voice,” the judge said. “Your actions 20 years ago today were criminal, and that’s why you are here.”
Masterson’s wife, Bijou Phillips, was present in court on Thursday, as were his mother, Carol, and brother Christopher. Phillips, 43, was also in court when her husband’s verdict was read in May, letting out a loud cry as the judge declared Masterson’s fate.
A source previously told Us Weekly that Phillips, who wed Masterson in 2011, was a “total rock” for her spouse throughout the scandal. “She fully supports him and says they’ll get through this nightmare together and come out stronger,” the insider noted in January 2022.
Several of Masterson’s accusers previously sued the Church of Scientology in 2019, claiming the organization Masterson is a member of engaged in practices to obstruct justice when the allegations were initially brought forward. Following his conviction in May, the church denied the unlawful activity, asserting in a statement, “There is not a scintilla of evidence supporting the scandalous allegations that the Church harassed the accusers.”
If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support. If you have experienced sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for confidential support.