Rick and Morty star Justin Roiland has been charged with felony domestic violence against a former partner.
The 42-year-old – who co-created the animated series and voices the two title characters – appeared in court in Orange County, California, for a pre-trial hearing.
A criminal complaint filed by prosecutors in May 2020, and seen by NBC News, charges Roiland with corporal injury and false imprisonment by menace, fraud, and violence or deceit against the woman, who he was living with at the time.
The woman was not identified in court documents. Roiland has pleaded not guilty.
The incident occurred in January of 2020 and Roiland was charged in May of that year, however the charges apparently went unnoticed by media outlets until NBC News reported them.
Further documents seen by NBC News show Roiland was arrested and released on a $50,000 (£41,000) bond in August 2020 before returning to court in October 2020.
A protective order, put in place in October 2020 and remaining in place until October 2023, says he must not harass, threaten or surveil the person named in the protective order, and cannot go within 100 feet of the person. He is also ordered to turn in any firearms he owned or possessed.
Roiland is set to return to court in April. A trial date has not been set.
So far, there have been around a dozen court hearings, including pre-trial hearings.
Calling recent media coverage of the case “inaccurate,”Roiland’s attorney Edward Welbourn said 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.”
Cartoon Network, which airs Rick and Morty in the US, has also been contacted for comment.
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Best known for his work on Rick And Morty, Roiland created the animated sci-fi sitcom about a mad scientist and his grandson with writer Dan Harmon.
The popular adult television comedy has aired for six seasons on Cartoon Network as part of its Adult Swim night-time programming, and has been renewed for a seventh season.
The show has won two Emmy Awards, for episodes in 2018 and 2020, and a Hollywood Critics Choice Association TV award in 2022.
Roiland, who has recently ventured into the art world, selling several NFT (non-fungible token) art projects over the last few years, has also created two projects for TV streaming platform Hulu – Solar Opposites, which has been renewed for a fifth season, and Koala Man which launched this month.
He also released his own video game, High On Life, late in December through his studio, Squanch Games, which became the top-selling game on Steam and the fourth most-played Xbox game in the week of its release.