Kevin Spacey found not liable in sex abuse lawsuit filed by Anthony Rapp

Kevin Spacey found not liable in sex abuse lawsuit filed by Anthony Rapp

The federal jury in Kevin Spacey’s sexual abuse trial has found the Oscar-winning actor not liable for the assault and battery against “Star Trek: Discovery star” Anthony Rapp.

The jury of five men and six women deliberated for just under 90 minutes on Thursday afternoon. Rapp appeared stoic as the verdict was read, and his attorneys appeared crestfallen as they left the midtown Manhattan courthouse.

Spacey bowed his head after the verdict was announced, then rose to embrace his attorneys.

“I am very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations,” Spacey’s attorney, Jennifer Keller, said outside the courthouse. Spacey, flanked by bodyguards, said nothing outside before jumping into a black SUV and driving off.

In a statement posted on TwitterRapp said he was “deeply grateful for the opportunity to have my case heard before a jury, and I thank the members of the jury for their service.”

“Introducing this lawsuit has always been to shine a light, as part of a larger movement against all forms of sexual violence,” Rapp said, vowing to continue advocating for “a world free of sexual violence from any nature”. “

Richard Steigman, Rapp’s attorney who delivered closing arguments on Thursday, said in a statement, “Anthony spoke his truth in court. While we respect the jury’s verdict, nothing changes that.”

Kevin Spacey inside the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 20, 2022 in New York City.
Kevin Spacey in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 20, 2022.Christine Cornell

At the start of the #MeToo movement, Rapp was one of the highest-profile people to bring sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey, derailing his much-loved career on screen and on stage.

Rapp alleged that Spacey rode him at a party in New York in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Rapp, best known for his role in the musical “Rent,” said that the alleged encounter was “the most traumatic event” of his life.

Spacey flatly denied Rapp’s allegations, saying under oath that “they’re not true.” His lawyers argued that Rapp “created history” largely because he was jealous of their client’s success in the entertainment industry.

In their closing arguments earlier Thursday, the actors’ attorneys presented starkly divergent versions of events.

Steigman suggested Spacey perform for the jury on the witness stand and insisted his client remains traumatized from the alleged encounter decades later.

Keller dismissed Rapp’s claims as lies and argued that the young actor was simply jealous of his client’s professional success.

Emotional testimonials

Both men gave tearful testimony on the witness stand.

Rapp fought back tears and spoke with a pained expression as he recalled the details of the alleged encounter which he described as “incredibly frightening and very alarming”. He testified that he felt inspired to go public with his claims in the fall of 2017.

“I didn’t ask her to do that,” he told jurors, referring to Spacey’s alleged sexual advance. “I didn’t want him to do that.”

Spacey, for his part, repeatedly broke down crying during his testimony. In a trembling voice, he told jurors of his “humiliating and terrifying” upbringing as the son of a man he described as a “white supremacist and neo-Nazi”.

Kevin Spacey inside the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 20, 2022 in New York City.
Kevin Spacey in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 20, 2022.Christine Cornell

“I never spoke about these things publicly, ever,” he said.

Rapp filed a lawsuit against Spacey in 2020 based on three allegations: assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan dismissed the assault complaint before the start of the trial, saying it was not covered by New York’s Child Victims Act of 2019, which temporarily allowed people to make claims that would normally have been blocked by the statute of limitations.

Kaplan dismissed Rapp’s allegation of emotional distress on the sixth day of the trial, saying in part that he “repeats and reaffirms” the assault allegation.

Rapp, who claimed to have shared his experience with friends over the years, first publicly detailed his allegations in an article published by BuzzFeed News on October 29, 2017.

Spacey’s response to the allegations

In a statement on Twitter the next day, Spacey said he had no recollection of the alleged incident, but apologized to Rapp for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior”. He then came out, writing in part, “I now choose to live as a gay man.”

In his testimony, Spacey said he regretted that statement. He said he now thinks he shouldn’t have apologized for something he insists he didn’t do, and he lamented that he used that statement as a opportunity to make themselves known to the general public.

“I would never have done anything to hurt the gay community,” he said, as tears welled up in his eyes. He explained that he was criticized for appearing to confuse his sexual orientation with the allegations: “It was wrong, it was really bad, and I’m deeply sorry.”

Rapp and Spacey agreed that they met in April 1986, while performing in Broadway shows – Rapp with Ed Harris in “Precious Sons”, Spacey with Jack Lemmon in a production of “Long Day’s Journey into Night “.

Actor Anthony Rapp, right, and his partner Ken Ithiphol arrive at federal court in New York on October 19, 2022.
Actor Anthony Rapp, right, and his partner Ken Ithiphol arrive in federal court in New York on Wednesday. Angela Weiss/AFP-Getty Images

The two saw each other again at an informal meeting in Lemmon’s locker room in May. That night, Spacey took Rapp and Rapp’s friend John Barrowman to a restaurant and nightclub. Spacey testified that he felt attracted to Barrowman, who was 19 at the time.

“I was captivated by John Barrowman,” Spacey said.

Spacey testified that he invited Rapp and Barrowman back to his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side after the club to introduce them to his dog and show them the views from his home. He said he and Barrowman had a brief “flirting and playful moment” on a bed that was cut short because Rapp was nearby.

Rapp alleged that sometime after that night, Spacey invited him to a party at his apartment. Rapp testified that he didn’t recognize anyone at the party, so he went to a bedroom to watch TV.

He testified that at one point a seemingly drunk Spacey came into the bedroom, picked him up, placed him on a bed, and rested his full weight on top of him.

Spacey forcefully rebuffed this account of events, saying in his testimony that he never invited Rapp to a party or even spoke to him again after their night out with Barrowman, who is now best known in the UK for his role. on the show “Doctor Who.”

Spacey’s lawyers presented evidence they said supported their client’s refusal, including documents showing that at the time of the alleged incident he was living in a studio apartment that had no bedrooms.

Jennifer Keller, one of Spacey’s lawyers, sought to convince the jury that Rapp was bitter not only about Spacey’s success in Hollywood, but also about being the ‘third wheel’ on the night out with Barrowman. . Rapp rejected this suggestion.

Rapp, 50, is a regular on the Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Discovery” and has appeared in films such as “Dazed and Confused” and “A Beautiful Mind.” Spacey, 63, won Oscars for his performances in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty,” and won a Tony for the play “Lost in Yonkers.”

Spacey played a fictional president in the Netflix drama “House of Cards” before a spate of sexual misconduct allegations in 2017 resulted in his firing from the show and abruptly cut short his famed Hollywood career.

Additional legal issues

Spacey’s legal troubles don’t end in New York.

In the UK, he faces charges of sexually assaulting three men a decade or more ago. He pleaded not guilty in July at a hearing at London’s Central Criminal Court. He is expected to go on trial in the UK from June 6, according to the Associated Press.

Kaplan, the judge in Spacey’s civil trial, did not allow Rapp’s lawyers to speak about the UK case. However, Rapp’s attorneys have had the opportunity to question Andy Holtzman, a former employee of the Public Theater in Manhattan, who alleges Spacey assaulted him there in 1981.

Spacey denied this allegation.

Separately, a Los Angeles judge ruled in August that Spacey and his companies must pay ‘House of Cards’ producers nearly $31 million for losses incurred after he was fired for alleged sexual harassment of crew members. , according to court documents.

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