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Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland faces domestic violence allegations

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

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

NBC News obtained the criminal complaint in the case, which charges Roiland, 42, with one felony of domestic battery with bodily harm and one felony of false imprisonment for menace, violence, fraud and/or deceit. NBC News is the first to publicly report the case.

The complaint states that the incident took place around January 19, 2020, against an anonymous 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 over a dozen court hearings, including pre-trial hearings. A test date is currently not set.

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

A protective order filed in October 2020 and documented in court minutes said Roiland must not harass, threaten or surveil the person named in the protective order, who is not known to NBC News. Roiland cannot come within 100 feet of the person, according to the order, which also ordered Roiland to hand over any firearms he owns or possesses. The order lasts until October 2023, and it is unknown who filed the order for the order.

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

During Thursday’s hearing, Roiland’s lawyer confirmed that there is a plea bargain available for Roiland, but did not discuss details. The brief hearing concluded a moment later with an agreement to reconvene on April 27. Roiland was ordered to appear at the hearing.

Roiland is best known for Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty,” which has spawned a billion-dollar media and merchandising franchise and is one of the most popular adult sitcoms on television. The show’s sixth season aired in September 2022, and a seventh season has been ordered by Cartoon Network 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 titular 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. He released an NFT art collection of over a dozen works in 2021, which sold for over $1.65 million. He released another NFT project in 2022. Roiland also sold his first painting through Sotheby’s Auction in 2021.

Roiland also co-created and voiced the lead character in Hulu’s “Solar Opposites,” which premiered in 2020 and was renewed for a fifth season in October 2022. Most recently, he was behind the Hulu series “Koala Man,” whose first episode 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 in the week of its release. Roiland won an Emmy for “Rick and Morty” in 2020 and a Hollywood Critics Choice Association TV Award for the show in 2022.

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