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Danny Masterson Will Have a ‘Very Hard’ Time Appealing Conviction, Legal Expert Predicts (Exclusive)

Danny Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after he was convicted on two counts of forcible rape during his sexual assault trial — and winning an appeal could be a long shot.

“It is very hard to win on appeal and I don’t expect Danny Masterson to win,” attorney Neama Rahmani exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, September 11. “And the reason is this: [Danny’s] attorney said that he didn’t do it, but you generally can’t appeal a jury verdict when it’s a question of fact. So, [does the jury] believe Danny Masterson [or] do they believe the victims? And in this particular case, they believe two of the victims.”

Rahmani added that under California law, “sentences have to run consecutively” in cases with “multiple victims” and a “violent” sex crime. “And that’s why we had two 15-year sentences,” he explained. “Danny Masterson’s going to do at least 30 years in California state prison.”

While Rahmani told Us that Masterson, 47, will “probably” get out of prison around the “30-year mark,” his time served will depend on the parole board. “Whenever there’s a span like that, the judge has discretion to go higher, that means sentence Danny Masterson up to life [in prison]. In this particular case, the judge gave really the minimum that could have been imposed in this case.”

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Masterson received his sentence on Thursday, September 7, after he was found guilty on two counts of forcible rape in May for incidents that occurred in the 2000s. The actor vehemently denied the allegations against him ahead of his retrial. (A mistrial was declared in November 2022 after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.)

Lawyer Neama Rahmani Explains Danny Masterson Appeal Chances
Anna Webber/Getty Images for Netflix

Masterson’s wife, Bijou Phillips, with whom he shares 9-year-old daughter Fianna, was present when her husband was convicted. According to the Los Angeles Times, she “began sobbing” and let out a “pained cry” as the verdict was read. She was also present during his sentencing earlier this month.

Phillips, 43, penned an emotional letter to Judge Charlaine Olmedo ahead of Masterson’s sentencing, advocating for her husband’s character. In addition to Phillips, Masterson’s fellow That ‘70s Show alums Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis also wrote letters of support for the judge to consider.

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Kutcher, 45, and Kunis, 40, who tied the knot in 2015 and share daughter Wyatt, 8, and son Dimitri, 6, faced backlash after the letters were made public. Days later, they released a statement offering context for their decision.

“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Kutcher said in a video shared via Instagram on Saturday, September 9. “A couple of months ago, Danny and his family reached out to us, and they asked us to write character letters to represent the person that we knew for 25 years so that the judge could take that into full consideration, relative to the sentencing.”

Kunis noted that the pair “support victims” and “will continue to do so in the future.”

She continued: “The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system or the validity of the jury’s ruling. … Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape.”

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Rahmani weighed in on the controversy on Monday, telling Us: “I understand that Danny Masterson was a friend and former colleague of Ashton and Mila, but I think this was a mistake. … I think especially after a jury has returned a verdict and believe[d] not only one, but two victims — unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt — I think you need to give that jury verdict the respect it deserves.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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