Monday, July 15, 2024

‘Rick And Morty’ Creator Justin Roiland Hit With Felony Abuse Charges

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Justin Roiland—co-creator of Rick and Morty and voice of the titular characters—is facing trial on felony domestic abuse charges stemming from an incident with a woman who lived with him in January 2020.

A criminal complaint by filed by Orange County prosecutors late last week and obtained by the Associated Press details charges against Roiland, 42, including corporal injury and false imprisonment by menace, fraud, violence, and deceit against the unidentified woman living with him at the time. The accusations were only recently made public, when NBC News reported on a pre-trial hearing which was held on Thursday.

Roiland—whose animated sci-fi sitcom blasted past the cult status of other offerings on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late night showcase such as Metalocalypse and Robot Chicken, to the point where an offhand joke resulted in a national demand for McDonald’s long-discontinued Szechuan sauce—pleaded of not guilty, according to Orange County Superior Court records. While the complaint was filed in January 2020, it wasn’t until May 2020 that Roiland was charged and subsequently arrested and released on $50,000 bail in August of 2020 and arraigned that October.

Details of the case, including police body cam footage, police reports, abuse investigation reports, medical records, and recorded interviews are currently being withheld from the pubic under a protective order. However, a protective order filed in October 2020 and documented in court minutes forbids Roiland from harassing, threatening or surveilling the woman, named only as Jane Doe in the order. He is further prohibited from going with 100 feet of Doe and was ordered to turn over any firearms he owned or were in his possession. While the order lasts until 2023, it is not known who submitted the request for protection.

During Thursday’s hearing, Roiland’s attorneys confirmed that he has been offered a plea deal, but the details have not been released. The hearing is scheduled to reconvene on April 27 in a case that has already been the subject of more than a dozen court hearings, and Roiland has been ordered to attend the next one.

According to NBC News, Roiland attorney T. Edward Welbourn has said that he expects the case to be dismissed, writing in an earlier statement, “We look forward to clearing Justin’s name and helping him move forward as swiftly as possible.”

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