Ahead of Danny Masterson‘s sentencing in his Los Angeles rape case, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis sought to persuade the judge in showing the disgraced actor mercy by writing letters of support and vouching for his character.
Kutcher and Kunis are among the 50 people who submitted letters to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo before the Sept. 7 sentencing hearing, and the That ’70s Show stars leaned on their long history and friendship with Masterson, whom the couple referred to as “a role model” with “exceptional character.”
Actors Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith — who famously portrayed Kitty and Red Forman on the hit Fox sitcom — also wrote letters to the judge, as did actors Giovanni Ribisi and William Baldwin, whose wife, Chynna Phillips, is the sister of Masterson’s wife, Bijou Phillips.
In the letter dated July 27, and obtained by legal affairs journalist Meghann Cuniff, Kutcher wrote about meeting Masterson when he was just 20 years old in 1998 and instantly becoming friends. In an effort to show Masterson’s positive influence on him, Kutcher wrote he attributed “not falling into the typical Hollywood life of drugs directly to” Masterson.
“Any time we were to meet someone or interact with someone who was on drugs, or did drugs, he made it clear that wouldn’t be a good person to be friends with,” Kutcher wrote in the letter. “And for me, that was an implication that if I were to do drugs, he wouldn’t want to be friends with me, which is something I never would want to risk or jeopardize.”
Kutcher’s letter concluded, “While I’m aware that the judgment has been cast as guilty on two counts of rape by force and the victims have a great desire for justice, I hope that my testament to his character is taken into consideration in sentencing. I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would [be] injustice in and of itself.”
Similarly, Kunis also wrote about Masterson’s “unwavering commitment to discouraging the use of drugs.” She also wrote that “Danny’s role as a husband and father to his daughter has been nothing short of extraordinary.”
As ET previously reported, Masterson was accused of drugging the drinks of the women who claimed he raped them at his home in the Hollywood Hills. On May 31, Masterson was found guilty of forcible rape against two women who were also former members of the Church of Scientology.
At his sentencing hearing, Masterson remained stoic during the reading of victim impact statements. He was then sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Information Bureau at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Hall of Justice tells ET, “Inmate Masterson is housed in a single man cell” and that safety checks “are conducted approximately every 30 minutes.”
In his letter dated Aug. 8, Ribisi said he had known Masterson since he was nine years old and “have always known Danny to be an ethical, honest person, who lived with the highest standards in work and family.” Ribisi, a Scientologist himself, concluded with, “I know Danny has been convicted of two counts of forcible rape. I only ask that you consider his daughter in his sentencing.”
In his letter to the judge dated Aug. 3, Baldwin wrote about Masterson’s commitment to being a father to his and Bijou’s 9-year-old daughter, Fianna.
“Since he has been incarcerated, I have heard him on the phone with his daughter helping her with her math homework while she tries to navigate through this devastating life-changing event at only nine years old,” he wrote.
Baldwin added, “I pray to God that you will consider the entirety of who Danny is when considering his sentence.”
But the judge was unmoved. Not only did the judge deny Masterson’s lawyer’s motion for a new trial, she also had pointed words for the actor who played Steven Hyde on That ’70s Show.
“Mr. Masterson, you are not the victim here,” the judge said. “Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s choice and voice. Your actions 20 years ago today were criminal, and that’s why you are here.”
Masterson’s attorney, Shawn Holley, plans to file an appeal on grounds that her team “identified a number of significant evidentiary and constitutional issues which they will address in briefs to both state and federal appellate court.”