Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland is facing domestic violence charges

Justin Roiland, 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 preliminary 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 one felony count of domestic battery with bodily injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by threat, violence, fraud and/or deception. NBC News is the first to report the case publicly.

The complaint states that the incident occurred on or about January 19, 2020, against an unidentified 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 been set at this time.

Many court records remain 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 arraigned in October 2020. .

A protective order filed in October 2020 and documented in court transcripts said Roiland does not harass, threaten or monitor the person named in the protective order, which is unknown to NBC News. According to the order, Roiland could not go within 100 feet of the person, who also ordered Roiland to turn over any firearms he or she possessed. The application runs until October 2023, and it is not known who applied.

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

During Thursday’s hearing, Roiland’s attorney confirmed that an offer to plead was available to Roiland, but did not discuss the details. The brief session concluded after a moment 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 media and promotional franchise and is one of the most popular TV comedies. 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. owns the franchise, declined. Discovery also reported to Cartoon Network, for comment.

Over the past three years, as the domestic violence case has progressed, Roiland’s career has advanced. He released an NFT art collection with 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 his first painting via Sotheby’s auction in 2021.

Roiland also co-created and stars as the main character in Hulu’s “Solar Opposites,” which debuted in 2020 and was renewed for a fifth season in October 2022. Most recently, he’s behind Hulu’s 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 in its launch week. 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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