“If defendant’s conviction and sentence are upheld on appeal, he will likely remain in custody for decades and perhaps the rest of his life,” Judge Charlaine Olmedo said on Wednesday, January 24, according to Deadline.
Olmedo noted that Masterson’s split from Phillips, 43, could mean he could go on the run. “In light of the fact that defendant has no wife to go home to, defendant now has every incentive to flee and little reason to return to state prison to serve out the remainder of his lengthy sentence should his appeal be unsuccessful,” the judge added.
Masterson, 47, was recently transferred to North Kern State Prison. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison following his sexual assault retrial in September 2023.
The actor was originally charged with three counts of rape in June 2020. Masterson was released on a $3.3 million bail shortly after his arrest and pleaded not guilty to all charges. His sexual assault trial started in October 2022 after Masterson made several attempts to have the charges dismissed.
“From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit,” he told Us Weekly in a statement in 2020. “I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused.”
Masterson declined to testify during the trial. Following a mistrial due to a deadlock jury in November 2022, Masterson’s second trial began in April 2023 and he was ultimately found guilty for two counts of rape.
Following the sentencing, Phillips filed for divorce from Masterson after 12 years of marriage. Us confirmed in October 2023 that Masterson agreed to give Phillips full legal and physical custody of their 9-year-old daughter, Fianna, while he requested visitation rights.
Ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, Masterson’s legal team filed a motion for appeal. Attorneys Clifford Gardner and Eric Multhaup claimed Masterson possessed a “lack of dangerousness” and wouldn’t be a flight risk if allowed out of prison.
“Defendant requests that this Court grant bail on appeal, and offers to comply with any relevant terms and conditions imposed by the Court that enable him to be an at-home parent and financial provider for his family, including house arrest and/or participation in an electronic monitoring program administered by the probation department,” they noted before adding that their appeal case has “extensive exculpatory evidence that was not presented to the jury.”