The civil sexual misconduct trial against Kevin Spacey came to a close this Thursday (October 20). Allegations made by Rent actor Anthony Rapp, claim that in 1986, Spacey invited him to his Manhattan home. When they were there, Spacey allegedly picked Rapp up, laid him down on his bed, grabbed his buttocks and pressed his groin into Rapp’s body without his consent. Rapp is suing Spacey for battery; was 14 and Spacey was 26 at the time.
Per CNN, New York Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed Rapp’s claim of assault before the trial started and dismissed his claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, leaving the jury to decide only the battery claim. Under New York law, battery is touching another person, without their consent, in a way that a reasonable person would find offensive.
In his closing argument, Rapp’s attorney Richard Steigman suggested Spacey twisted his testimony at trial to suit his defense. He pointed to Spacey’s 2017 apology to Rapp when he first came forward. “Don’t listen to what I said in real-time. I’m defending a lawsuit now. Listen to me now. I’ve got it straightened out,” Steigman said. Then he called Spacey’s testimony “rehearsed” in comparison to the raw testimony given by his client. “When you’re rehearsed, and a world-class actor and you’re following the script and following the testimony of someone else, you can take that stand and be perfectly polished,” Steigman said. “When you’re merely coming to court coming forward and telling the truth of your experience, especially one like this that’s a little bit complicated.”
Spacey’s attorney Jennifer Keller suggested that Rapp’s allegations against Spacey were manufactured from a nearly identical scene from the Broadway show “Precious Sons,” which Rapp was performing in with Ed Harris in 1986 at the time of the alleged incident.
“We’re here because Mr. Rapp has falsely alleged abuse that never occurred at a party that was never held in a room that did not exist,” she alleged.
Spacey’s attorney concluded her remarks, “You’re here to be judges of the facts. Did it happen? It didn’t happen. One penny is too much for something that did not happen. And for Mr. Spacey this is not about the money. For Mr. Spacey this is about the truth that day and he was falsely accused.”
The jury’s deliberations on Thursday afternoon ended in victory for Spacey. The jury found Spacey not liable for battery in the case of Anthony Rapp in 1986.
As we previously reported, Spacey pleaded not guilty in London in July to charges of sexually assaulting three men a decade or more ago, when he was director of the Old Vic theater there. His lawyer said he “strenuously denies” the allegations and he is set to face trial next year.
Another criminal case brought against him was an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.