Ashton Kutcher' Letter to Judge for Danny Masterson leaked
Danny Masterson, a prominent Scientologist who was jailed this week for raping two women, was a "role model" to fellow actor Ashton Kutcher, the star told a judge according to a letter that emerged Friday.
Masterson was sentenced to at least 30 years' prison for drugging and sexually assaulting his victims at his swanky Los Angeles home two decades earlier.
In a submission to the sentencing judge, Kutcher -- who starred alongside Masterson in retro sitcom "That '70s Show" -- said the older actor had been "nothing but a positive influence" on him.
"I met Danny Masterson when I was 20 years old in 1998," the actor wrote, according to a letter published in US media.
"He instantly became a friend, dedicated co-worker, and role model to me. And has remained as such for 25 years.
"He's an extraordinarily honest and intentional human being. Over (the) 25-year relationship I don't ever recall him lying to me. He's taught me about being direct and confronting issues in life and relationships head-on, resolving them, and moving forward."
Kutcher, whose letter was reportedly one of dozens submitted to the judge to ask for leniency, said he was aware his friend had been found guilty, but wanted his character reference to be taken into account in sentencing.
"I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would (be) a tertiary injustice in and of itself."
Kutcher's wife and fellow "That '70s Show" actor Mila Kunis also vouched for Masterson, telling the judge he had "innate goodness and genuine nature".
"Throughout our time together, Danny has proven to be an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me," she said.
"His caring nature and ability to offer guidance have been instrumental in my growth both personally and professionally."
After "That '70s Show," Masterson co-starred again with Kutcher on Netflix's "The Ranch," but was fired in 2017 and written off the show when Los Angeles police confirmed they were investigating multiple rape allegations against the actor.
Masterson was convicted in May on two counts of rape following a retrial. An initial trial on three counts deadlocked.
Judge Charlaine Olmedo on Thursday ordered him to serve 15 years to life for each count, to run consecutively.
That means the actor will be 77 years old before he can apply for parole.
Masterson, who is married to actress Bijou Phillips and has a nine-year-old daughter, was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life upon his release from prison.
The three women at the heart of the charges against Masterson were members of the Church of Scientology at the time, as was he.