Kevin Spacey trial: American Beauty actor found not liable for sexual assault of Anthony Rapp in NY court case
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Kevin Spacey has been found by jurors to not have sexually assaulted actor Anthony Rapp when he was 14, as the civil case in a Manhattan court finished overnight. The accusation was made by Rapp which stemmed from an encounter at a party in 1986 while both were involved in Broadway productions.
Jurors at the federal court took just an hour to deliberate over their verdict, bringing to an end a trial the wheels of which were put in motion after Rapp’s claims in a 2017 interview at the height of the #metoo movement. His lawsuit sought to claim $40 million (£35 million) in damages against the Oscar winning actor.
In closing arguments for both Spacey and Rapp, their respective lawyers once again discussed the legitimacy of the claims. Rapp’s lawyer, Richard Steigman, urged jurors to make Spacey pay for trying to make a sexual advance on Rapp in Spacey‘s Manhattan apartment and accused Spacey of lying on the witness stand.
Steigman in his closing summary said of Spacey: “He lacks credibility. Sometimes the simple truth is the best. The simple truth is that this happened.” claiming that Spacey had lied to the jury when he insisted the encounter could not have happened due to Rapp’s claims it happened in a one-bedroom apartment and Spacey lived in a studio at the time.
Jennifer Keller, a lawyer for Spacey, told jurors that Rapp made up the encounter and said they should reject Rapp’s claims and tried to suggest reasons for why Rapp would make up the encounter with Spacey. She said that Rapp became jealous that Spacey became a megastar while Rapp had “smaller roles in small shows” after his breakthrough performance in Broadway’s Rent.
Keller also suggested that Rapp invented his claim, in which he said Spacey picked him up and briefly laid on top of him on a bed in his apartment while Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26, based on his experience performing in Precious Sons, a play in which the actor Ed Harris picks up Rapp’s character and lays on top of him, mistaking him briefly for his wife before discovering it is his son.
When the verdict was read, Spacey dropped his head, and then hugged lawyers and others before leaving the courtroom. However the American Beauty and House of Cards actor still has another trial in London next year to contend with.
Kevin Spacey’s early life
Jurors also were given an insight into Spacey’s earlier life across the three day hearing and the “very complicated family dynamic” the actor had with his father; it was his “white supremacist and neo-Nazi” father’s verbal abuse deterred him from coming out as gay.
He also recalled how his father "used to yell at me at the idea that I might be gay" – discouraging Spacey from publicly coming out until he was 58 years old. His coming out occurred shortly after the accusations were made by Anthony Rapp.