Danny Masterson found himself in a somewhat awkward position in court Friday, as a former interior designer for he and wife Bijou Phillips – who also at one time was friends with two of his accusers – took the stand for the prosecution’s rape case against the “That 70s Show” star.
Mariah O’Brien, who was at one point married to actor Giovanni Ribisi and had dabbled in Scientology, was friends with the two Jane Doe witnesses known as “NT” and “CB,” both of whom have already testified over the past two weeks.
Masterson openly smiled at O’Brien as she took the stand. O’Brien smiled back at Masterson and his family members in the courtroom, and mouthed “bye” when her testimony was over.
NT testified mid-week that Masterson bullied her in 2003 into coming over to his house, made her slam a glass of wine, then brutally raped her as she drifted in and out of consciousness. O’Brien said she first met NT at a party around 15 years ago, that initially they were acquaintances but later became good friends by the end of 2011.
“I broke my legs in 2011 and she came over to my house,” she testified.
Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson then asked her if their friendship changed and O’Brien said, “That’s an understatement. But yes.”
Under questioning O’Brien said she believes she first met Masterson in 1994 or 1995 and said they were acquaintances and would see each other at parties and events, before becoming his interior designer. O’Brien also said she met “CB” – Masterson’s long-term girlfriend from 1995-2002 – when she first became engaged to Ribisi in 1996. Anson asked if O’Brien was a member of Scientology.
“Not currently,” she said.
She said she and NT fell out in the fall of 2014 following a dinner at her house with her, her two children, and another friend. “We stopped speaking,” she said. “I stopped speaking to her.”
She stated everyone had been eating dinner that night at the table but when talk turned to Masterson, NT became upset.
“She became distraught and angry … I think she may have even stood up from her chair … She was upset. Turning red.”
Anson asked her if NT then blurted something out?
“Yes,” O’Brien said. “She said that she had been raped by Mr. Masterson.”
O’Brien said she was shocked when she heard that: “I was also upset that she was speaking that way in front of my children. I also vaguely recall saying to her that I considered him a family person in my life, so I was not having this.”
O’Brien said NT then left and they stopped speaking. Anson then asked her about Instagram messages she exchanged with CB in 2016. She said CB asked her if she knew anyone who had accused Masterson of rape – and she told CB about NT, but that she was no longer in contact with her.
O’Brien also testified that she no longer works for Masterson, is still not friends with NT, and has no further relationship with CB.
There was to be no testimony Monday, which was set aside for jury direction by the
attorneys and some other motions. Court resumes Tuesday afternoon.
Masterson was formally charged in 2020, but allegations first came to light in 2017 when a blogger covering Scientology reported that detectives were investigating the actor after three women came forward with accusations of rape and assault. The women claim they came into contact with Masterson in the early 2000s through the Church of Scientology, and each has said they were pressured by the Church to keep quiet.
Masterson has maintained his innocence, and his family, including his brothers and wife Bijou Phillips, have been in court daily to support him.