‘Rick and Morty’ co-creator Justin Roiland faces domestic violence charges

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Justin Roiland, the star and co-creator of the animated comedy series “Rick and Morty,” has been charged with felony domestic violence in Orange County, California, in connection with a 2020 incident, according to a criminal complaint filed. in May 2020 by the Orange County District Attorney. He appeared in court Thursday for a pretrial hearing.

Roiland pleaded not guilty in 2020. Roiland and his attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

NBC News obtained the criminal complaint in the case, which charges Roiland, 42, with felony domestic battery with bodily harm and felony false imprisonment by threat, violence, fraud and/or deception. NBC News is the first to publicly report on the case.

The complaint states that the incident occurred around January 19, 2020 against an unnamed Jane Doe who was dating Roiland at the time.

According to Orange County Superior Court records, Roiland pleaded not guilty to both charges in October 2020. Since then, the case has been the subject of more than a dozen court hearings, including pretrial hearings. No trial date has currently been set.

Many court records remained sealed, but publicly available documents seen by NBC News say Roiland was indicted in May 2020. Roiland was arrested and released on $50,000 bail in August 2020 and arraigned in October 2020.

A protection order filed in October 2020 and documented in court records said Roiland must not harass, threaten or monitor the person named in the protection order, whom NBC News does not know. Roiland is not allowed to come within 100 feet of the person, according to the order, which also ordered Roiland to surrender any firearm he owns or possesses. The order lasts until October 2023 and it is not known who submitted the request for the order.

Details of the case, including police body camera footage, police reports, abuse investigation reports, medical reports, and interview recordings are currently withheld from the public under a protective order. The affidavit in support of Roiland’s arrest is also sealed.

During Thursday’s hearing, Roiland’s attorney confirmed that a plea offer is available for Roiland, but did not discuss the details. The brief hearing concluded a moment later with an agreement to meet again on April 27. Roiland was ordered to attend the hearing.

Roiland is best known for Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty,” which has spawned a multi-billion dollar merchandising and media franchise and is one of the most popular adult sitcoms on television. The show’s sixth season aired in September 2022, and Cartoon Network ordered a seventh season as part of a long-term deal for 70 new episodes. Roiland, in addition to co-creating the series with Dan Harmon, voices the two main characters.

Adult Swim, whose parent company Warner Bros. Discovery also owns Cartoon Network, declined to comment.

Over the past three years, as the domestic violence case has progressed, Roiland’s career has progressed. She launched an NFT art collection of more than a dozen works in 2021, which sold for more than $1.65 million. He released another NFT project in 2022. Roiland also sold the first painting of him via Sotheby’s auction in 2021.

Roiland also co-created and voiced the lead character in Hulu’s “Solar Opposites,” which debuted in 2020 and was renewed for a fifth season in October 2022. Most recently, he was behind the Hulu series “Koala Man.” , the first episode of which was released this month.

Roiland also released the video game “High on Life” in 2022, which he developed through his studio Squanch Games. It became the best selling game on Steam and the fourth most played Xbox game the week of its release. Roiland won an Emmy for “Rick and Morty” in 2020 and a Hollywood Critics Association Television Award for the show in 2022.

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