Kevin Spacey found not liable in sexual assault lawsuit filed by Anthony Rapp

A federal jury in Kevin Spacey’s sexual assault trial has found the Oscar-winning actor not responsible for assaulting “Star Trek: Discovery star” Anthony Rapp.

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

Spacey lowered his head after the verdict was announced, then stood up to hug his attorneys.

“I am very grateful to the jury for looking at these false accusations,” Spacey’s attorney, Jennifer Keller, said outside the courthouse. Spacey, flanked by bodyguards, said nothing outside before getting into a black pickup truck 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 jurors for their service.”

“Filing this lawsuit was always about shining a light, as part of a broader movement to oppose all forms of sexual violence,” Rapp said, vowing to continue advocating for “a world free of sexual violence of any kind.” “

Richard Steigman, Rapp’s attorney who delivered closing arguments 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.
Kevin Spacey inside the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 20, 2022.cristina cornell

In the early days of the #MeToo movement, Rapp was one of the most high-profile people to bring accusations of sexual misconduct against Spacey, derailing his lauded career on screen and stage.

alleged rap that Spacey climbed on top of him at a party in New York City in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Rapp, best known for his role in the musical “Rent,” testified that the alleged encounter was “the single most traumatic event” of their life.

Spacey adamantly denied Rapp’s accusations, saying under oath that they “are not true.” His lawyers argued that Rapp “created a story” in large part because i was jealous the success of its clients in the entertainment industry.

In closing arguments Thursday, the plaintiffs’ attorneys presented dramatically divergent versions of events.

Steigman suggested that Spacey put on a performance for the jury on the witness stand, insisting that decades later, his client remains traumatized by the alleged encounter.

Keller dismissed Rapp’s claims as falsehoods, arguing that the young actress was simply jealous of her client’s professional success.

emotional testimonials

The two men gave tearful testimony on the witness stand.

rap fought back tears and spoke with a pained expression as he recalled details of the alleged encounter which he described as “incredibly terrifying and highly alarming”. He testified that he was inspired to go public with your claims in the fall of 2017.

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

Spacey, for his part, repeatedly Broke in tears during his testimony. With a trembling voice, he told the jury about his “humiliating and terrifying” upbringing of him 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.
Kevin Spacey inside the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 20, 2022.cristina cornell

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

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

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

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

Rapp, who has 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 accusations

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 left, writing in part: “I now choose to live as a gay man.”

In his testimony, Spacey said he regretted that statement and explained that he now believes he shouldn’t have apologized for something he insists he didn’t do.

“I’ve learned a lesson: Never apologize for something you didn’t do,” Spacey told jurors. “I regret all my statement.”

He said his publicity team encouraged him to take the allegations “seriously” because they were concerned about permanent damage to his career and reputation. In turn, he chose to take them “seriously but not objectively.”

“I didn’t think this would have happened,” Spacey said emphatically.

Spacey also lamented that he used the statement as an opportunity to come out to the general public.

“I would never have done anything to hurt the gay community,” he said, tears welling up in his eyes. He explained that he was criticized for appearing to confuse his sexual orientation with the accusations: “He was wrong, he was really wrong and I am deeply sorry.”

event duel accounts

Rapp and Spacey agreed that they met sometime in April 1986, when they were 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.”

The two saw each other again during an informal meeting in Lemmon’s dressing room sometime in May. That night, Spacey took Rapp and Rapp’s friend John Barrowman to a restaurant and nightclub. Spacey testified that he was 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 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 spot. He said he and Barrowman had a brief “flirty and playful moment” in bed that was interrupted 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 into a bedroom to watch television.

He testified that at some point, an apparently drunk Spacey entered the room, picked him up, placed him on a bed and put his full weight on him.

Spacey strongly rejected that account of events, saying in his testimony that he never invited Rapp to a party or even spoke to him again after his evening with Barrowman, who is now best known in the UK for his role in the program. Doctor who.”

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

Spacey’s attorneys presented evidence they said supported their client’s denial, including documents showing that, at the time of the alleged incident, he was living in a studio apartment that did not have a bedroom.

Jennifer Keller, one of Spacey’s attorneys, tried to convince the jury that Rapp was bitter not only about Spacey’s success in Hollywood, but also about being the “third wheel” during the evening with Barrowman. Rapp rejected that suggestion.

Rapp, 50, is a series regular on the Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Discovery” and has appeared in movies like “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 “Lost in Yonkers.”

Spacey played a fictional president on the Netflix drama “House of Cards” before a wave of sexual misconduct allegations in 2017 saw him fired from the show and abruptly cut short his celebrated Hollywood career.

Additional legal issues

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

In the UK, he faces charges of sexually assault three men a decade or more ago. He pleaded not guilty in July at a hearing at the Central Criminal Court in London. He is expected to stand 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 had the opportunity to question Andy Holtzman, a former employee of the Manhattan Public Theater, who alleges that Spacey assaulted him there in 1981.

Spacey has denied that allegation.

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

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