Justin Roiland, co-creator of the adult animated comedy series Rick and Morty, is facing domestic violence charges. The charges stem from an incident with a girlfriend in 2020. Details of the two-year-old case were first made public on Thursday (January 12), however, the charging document that describes the alleged crimes remains sealed, BBC reports.
Roiland, 42, pleaded not guilty to two charges in 2020, and on Thursday appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing. If found guilty, the voice actor could face up to seven years in prison. Felony criminal charges of domestic battery with corporal injury and false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud and/or deceit were filed by the Orange County District Attorney in May 2020. The incident allegedly occurred in January of that year. The accuser is an anonymous “Jane Doe” who police say “was in a dating relationship” with Roiland at the time. A police complaint says that Roiland’s actions resulted “in a traumatic condition” for the woman.
“It is hard to overstate how inaccurate the recent media coverage of this situation has been,” said Edward Welbourn, an attorney for Roiland, in a statement. “To be clear, not only is Justin innocent but we also have every expectation that this matter is on course to be dismissed once the District Attorney’s office has completed its methodical review of the evidence. We look forward to clearing Justin’s name and helping him move forward as swiftly as possible.”
The producer and director was arrested and released on a $50,000 bond in August 2020. He formally pleaded not guilty to the charges two months later. A protective order was filed against Roiland to keep at least 100 feet away from the accuser at all times. He was also ordered to not harass, threaten or spy on her. He was also ordered to turn over any firearms he possesses, so police can keep hold of them until at least October of this year.
At yesterday’s court hearing, Roiland’s lawyer told the judge that a plea deal was available to his client. Another required attendance hearing is scheduled for April 27.