A New York jury has ruled that Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey did not molest fellow actor Anthony Rapp.
Spacey appeared at Manhatan Federal Court for a civil trial. Both he and his accuser, Rapp, gave evidence at the trial before the jury delivered their decision.
The actor has remained largey out of the glare of Hollywood since the accusations emerged. He faces other accusations of sexual miscounduct, which are yet to be tried.
What was Kevin Spacey accused of?
In October 2017, Rapp, who is known for his work in Star Trek: New Discovery, made the accusation that Spacey had made unwanted sexual advances toward him in 1986. At the time, the pair were both relatively unknown actors and were appearing together on Broadway.
At the time of the alleged offence, Rapp was 14, while Spacey was 26. Rapp accused the actor of climbing on top of him at a New Year’s party.
Rapp, now 50, said that the encounter with Spacey, 63, was “the single most traumatic event” of his life. Spacey flat out denied the allegations; his lawyer would later say that Rapp had “created a story” as he was jealous of his previous co-star’s future success.
On the same day Rapp made the accusations, Spacey came out publicly as gay, saying: “I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”
What happened at the New York trial?
The civil lawsuit brought against Spacey began in October 2022. Rapp had initally filed the lawsuit in conjuction with another unnamed accuser - the unnamed man was later dismissed from the case after refusing to publicly identify himself.
Both Rapp and Spacey gave evidence during the three-week trial. Rapp had been seeking around $40million in damages.
Rapp had accused the actor of sexual assult, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On October 1, the judge in the case dismissed the emotional distress charges as they were deemed to be a “duplicate” of Rapp’s battery charges.
Giving evidence at the trial, Rapp said that he wriggled out from Spacey’s bed and fled the apartment only to encounter the actor inebriated at the door asking if he was sure he wanted to leave. During the trial, Rapp described the apartment Spacey had allegedly assulted him in as a “one-bedroom apartment”. Spacey’s legal team refuted this and said that the actor lived in a studio apartment.
As a result Jennifer Keller, a lawyer for Spacey, told jurors that Mr Rapp made up the encounter and said they should reject Mr Rapp’s claims. However, Rapp’s legal team, headed by Richard Steigman, argued that the focus on this detail meant that Spacey “lacks credibility”.
Following the trial, the jury deliberated for one hour before concluding that Spacey did not molest Rapp.
After the conclusion was made, Ms Keller said in a statement: “Mr Spacey is grateful to live in a country where the citizens have a right to trial by impartial jurors who make their decision based on evidence and not rumour or social media. And he is deeply thankful to this particular jury.
“This was a highly educated group of six women and five men, all except one college graduates and most with graduate degrees. Their verdict was swift and decisive. Justice was done today.”
Spacey still faces allegations in the UK, after being charged by the Crown Prosecution Service with four counts of sexual assault against three complainants. He denies all allegations brought against him and pleaded not guilty while appearing in court in London in July 2022. He ids due to face trial in June 2023.