After just 90 minutes of deliberation and two weeks of trial, jury of six men and six women found Kevin Spacey not guilty of battery alleged by fellow actor Anthony Rapp. The latter sued Spacey for psychological damages incurred from an incident that occurred at a New York City house party in 1986, when Rapp was just 14. Spacey could’ve been forced to pay Rapp up to $40 million.
Throughout the trial, Rapp maintained that he was groped by a 26-year-old Spacey at a house party when he a teenager. According to emotional testimony from Rapp, Spacey invited him to a party at his house when they were both performing in respective Broadway shows. Upon arriving at the party, Rapp says he became uncomfortable, because he was really young and didn’t know anyone, so he went into a room to watch TV by himself. He claims that Spacey, who was allegedly “uneasy on his feet” and visibly intoxicated, came and found him, grabbed his butt, and lifted him onto the bed. Rapp says he was forced to “wriggle out” as Spacey “pinned” him underneath his body and tried to have sex with him. Rapp didn’t speak publicly about the alleged incident until a 2017 BuzzFeed story.
Spacey, on the other hand, first claimed he didn’t remember the incident ever having taken place via an apology on Twitter after the story was published: “I’m beyond horrified to hear this story,” Spacey wrote then. “I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
During the trial, however, he adamantly denied it had occurred at all. Of the allegations, Spacey simply said: “They are not true.” He also explained why he’s long kept quiet about his personal life and provided reason for why he didn’t come out as a gay man until 2017. “My father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi,” Spacey told the court. “It meant that my siblings and I were forced to listen to hours and hours of my father lecturing us about his beliefs.”
In closing arguments, one of Spacey’s attorneys, Jennifer Keller, discouraged the jury from thinking within the context of #MeToo and, instead, to consider the lack of evidence: “This isn’t a team sport where you’re either on the Me Too side, or you’re on the other side,” Keller said. “This is a very different place. Our system requires evidence, proof, objective support for accusations provided to an impartial jury. However polarized as society may be today, it really should not have a place here.”
Spacey still faces charges of sexually assaulting three men over a decade ago in London. He pleaded not guilty and is expected to go on trial there next year. Four other men have accused Spacey of sexual misconduct, but those legal charges were either dropped or were not pursued.