NEW YORK (AP) – A jury on the side of Kevin Spacey Thursday in one of the lawsuits that derailed the movie star’s career, finding that he had not sexually abused Anthony Rapp, then 14, despite the two being relatively unknown actors in Broadway plays in 1986.
The verdict of the civil trial came at lightning speed. Jurors in federal court in New York deliberated for just over an hour before deciding Rapp hadn’t proven his claims.
When the verdict was read, Spacey bowed his head, then hugged his lawyers. He did not speak to reporters as he left the courthouse.
“We are very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations,” said his lawyer, Jennifer Keller.
“The next step is that Mr. Spacey is going to be proven innocent of everything he’s been accused of. That there was no truth to any of the allegations,” she added. , referring to other allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor, including criminal charges in England.
During the trial, Rapp said Spacey invited him to his apartment for a party, then approached him in a bedroom after the other guests left. He said the actor, then 26, picked him up and partially lay on top of him on a bed before squirming and running away as an inebriated Spacey shoved him. asked if he was sure he wanted to leave.
In his sometimes tearful testimony, Spacey told the jury it never happened and he would never have been attracted to someone 14 years old.
The lawsuit sought $40 million in damages.
Rapp and his lawyers also left the courthouse without speaking to reporters. In his closing statements to the jury on Thursday, Rapp’s attorney, Richard Steigman, accused Spacey of lying on the witness stand.
“He lacks credibility,” Steigman said. “Sometimes the simple truth is best. The simple truth is that it happened.
Rapp, 50, and Spacey, 63, each testified for several days during the three-week trial.
Rapp’s claims, and those of others, abruptly cut short what had been a meteoric career for the two-time Oscar-winning actor, who lost his job on the Netflix series ‘House of Cards’ and saw other opportunities dry up. Rapp is a regular on the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and was part of the original Broadway cast of “Rent.”
Spacey was charged in Massachusetts with groping a man in a bar – allegations that were later dropped by prosecutors.
Three months ago he pleaded not guilty in London to sexually assaulting three men between 2004 and 2015 when he was artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London.
A Los Angeles judge this summer approved an arbitrator’s decision to order Spacey to pay the ‘House of Cards’ creators $30.9 million for violating his contract by sexually harassing crew members .
The Associated Press generally does not name people alleging sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Rapp did.
At trial, Spacey testified that he was sure the meeting with Rapp never happened, in part because he lived in a studio apartment rather than the bedroom Rapp cited, and he didn’t. had never had a gathering beyond a housewarming party.
“I knew I would have no sexual interest in Anthony Rapp or a child. That I knew,” he told jurors.
During his closing arguments before the jury, Keller suggested reasons why Rapp either imagined meeting Spacey or made it up.
It was possible, she said, that Rapp made it up based on his experience in “Precious Sons,” a play in which actor Ed Harris takes Rapp’s character and lies down on him, the briefly mistaking it for his wife before discovering that he is her son.
She also suggested that Rapp later got jealous that Spacey had become a megastar while Rapp had “smaller roles in smaller shows” after his breakthrough performance in Broadway’s “Rent.”
“Fame didn’t follow him,” Keller said. “Mr. Rapp’s coach turned into a pumpkin.
“So we’re here today and Mr. Rapp is getting more attention from this lawsuit than he’s had in his entire acting life,” Keller said. She said Rapp is well known now because he knocked out one of Hollywood’s biggest actors.
During two days of testimony, Spacey expressed regret for a 2017 statement he released when Rapp was first made public, in which he said he did not remember the encounter, but if it had happened “I owe him the most sincere apologies for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.
Dabbing his eyes with a tissue, Spacey said he was pressured by publicists and lawyers to issue an empathetic statement at a time when the #MeToo movement was making everyone in the industry nervous.
“I learned a lesson, which is to never apologize for something you didn’t do,” he said.
He also wept saying he regretted coming out publicly that he was gay the same day Rapp’s accusations surfaced because some interpreted his announcement as an effort to change the subject or deflect the revelations from Report.
Spacey had testified that he spoke at trial about deeply personal matters, telling the jury that his father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi who had chastised him as gay because he loved the theater.
Spacey also gave courtroom viewers a brief taste of his acting skills when he impersonated then-Broadway bandmate Jack Lemmon. He had testified earlier that his ability for impressions helped him in his acting career.
This story has been updated to correct the day of the week in the main paragraph to Thursday, not Tuesday.
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