Danny Masterson is set to face trial next week on three rape charges, but his attorney is already seeking to delay the proceedings until after the mayoral election in Los Angeles. Masterson is a lifelong member of the Church of Scientology, which has become a hot topic in the race between Rick Caruso and Karen Bass. Masterson’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, is particularly concerned with recent ads from Caruso that attack Bass for speaking glowingly of the controversial religion in the past.
According to Cohen, potential jurors are being “inundated” with the ads, which he describes as “inflammatory.” Cohen has petitioned the judge to delay the trial until some time after the election on November 8. Via Variety:
Last week, Rick Caruso began running an ad attacking Karen Bass for praising Scientology during a speech in 2010. The ad includes a quote referring to the church as a “ruthless global scam.” Bass responded by saying that she “absolutely condemn(s) their practices.”
“The public is being inundated with this,” said Masterson’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, at a court hearing on Monday. “It is a significant problem for Mr. Masterson.”
Cohen is also seeking to bar any references to Scientology in the courtroom. “If something needs to come up, it can be called ‘the church,’ ‘the organization,’ ‘a club,’” Cohen said.
Naturally, the prosecution is pushing back against the delay as well as the defense’s accusations of bias against the Church of Scientology, which can be weeded out during jury selection. The prosecution argued that “any potential prejudice could be addressed during questioning of potential jurors.”