Danny Masterson legal news brief: Date set in Scientology harassment trial, probation officer reveals actor's 'primary concern' pre-sentencing

Danny Masterson and estranged wife Bijou Phillips arrive for closing arguments in his second rape trial on May 16, 2023, in Los Angeles.
Danny Masterson and estranged wife Bijou Phillips arrive for closing arguments in his second rape trial on May 16, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Danny Masterson is behind bars, but his legal woes are far from over.

As the That '70s Show star, 47, sits in a California prison for raping two women, there's been a new ruling in a civil case against him and Scientology. Plus, a probation officer's report prior to sentencing has been published that sheds new light into Masterson's income. And there's also new information about why wife Bijou Phillips filed for divorce soon after his sentencing. Here's the latest.

Date set for Masterson, Scientology harassment trial

All three women involved in the criminal case are also involved in a civil lawsuit. In 2019, they sued Masterson and the Church of Scientology, claiming they were repeatedly harassed and threatened. One woman alleged her dog was poisoned as an intimidation tactic. Both Masterson and the church deny the allegations. That case had been paused while Masterson faced a criminal trial.

In a 10-minute hearing on Wednesday in Los Angeles, a judge lifted the long stay on the harassment case now that Masterson has been sentenced to 30 years to life. (That means, the civil case can go forward.) As of now, trial is set for Sept. 22, 2025. Deadline reports court backlogs and an expected flood of discovery filings are a few reasons why the trial is two years out. Masterson and the church made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to get the case dismissed.

Bijou Phillips reportedly ended marriage to Masterson over financial concerns

Legal experts have speculated that Phillips, who very publicly supported the actor in court during both his trials, filed for divorce to protect her assets. Us Weekly, citing anonymous sources, is now reporting as much, saying Phillips was financially motivated to end the nearly 12-year marriage.

"This experience has been devastating and humiliating for Bijou," one unnamed insider told the publication. "She's focused on being a mom and preserving her future no matter what."

Phillips filed for divorce last week. Despite what her legal paperwork suggested, the actress's lawyer confirmed she and Masterson had been living together, not apart for five years, prior to his conviction.

Masterson's primary source of income is from "grapes and wine" farm

Before Masterson was sentenced to decades behind bars, his interim probation officer prepared a document that recommended state prison. The Underground Bunker, a blog run by noted Scientology critic Tony Ortega, obtained the full report that contained many interesting tidbits as the officer met with Masterson on Aug. 31 at the Los Angeles County men's jail.

Masterson said he stopped working as an actor in 2018, which is one year after the LAPD confirmed they were investigating the star for multiple sexual assaults. He and Phillips moved to Santa Ynez, Calif., where he started a farm that "produces grapes and wine." His income was listed as "stable," with the "farm" as the primary source. "Acting residuals" was a secondary income source, but his total assets were "undetermined." (This is something Masterson's victims likely want to know given possible restitution and civil damages.)

"[Masterson] related he earns income from his farm and he receives residuals from his time working as an actor," the officer wrote. "He was unable to provide exact figures regarding his major assets and liability. He reported his financial status is stable, and he continues to provide financial support for his family."

Masterson's "statement"

The actor declined to testify in his own defense at either trial. He didn't speak during sentencing. Although he's maintained his innocence via his lawyers, the probation report includes the "defendant's statement," which gives some insight into his frame of mind in the weeks leading up to sentencing.

"The defendant related his primary concern is the impact the current matter has had upon his family. He noted his wife [redacted] and he desires to be with her to help raise their child," the officer wrote.

Here is the probation officer's full evaluation:

The defendant is a 47-year-old male with no known prior criminal record. In the current matter, he has been convicted of raping two female victims. According to statements by victim Jane Doe #1, the defendant used force and violence upon her and choked her until she became unconscious. It should also be noted both victims believe they were drugged by the defendant and became unconscious prior to being raped. The allegations made by the victims are troubling and warrant concern for public safety.

It appears the defendant violated the victims' trust and likely caused them to suffer severe emotional damage. The defendant must be held accountable for his actions, and sanctions should be ordered to protect the community. To the defendant’s credit, he has no prior record of criminal conduct, strong community ties, and a stable lifestyle. In addition, he provided numerous reference letters regarding his good character. Nevertheless, as charged, the defendant is ineligible for probation. Furthermore, the defendant is viewed as unsuitable for probation based upon the severity of the current offense, the vulnerability of the victims, and the potential threat to the public safety.

The officer recommended Masterson be sentenced to state prison and that "the court order the defendant pay a restitution fine." Masterson was ultimately sentenced to 30-years-to-life in prison.