Jury finds Kevin Spacey did not assault actor Anthony Rapp in 1986: NPR
NEW YORK – A jury sided with Kevin Spacey on Thursday in one of the trials that derailed the movie star’s career, finding he did not sexually abuse then-aged Anthony Rapp 14, when the two were relatively unknown actors in 1980s Broadway plays.
The verdict of the civil trial came at lightning speed. Jurors in a federal court in New York deliberated for just over an hour before deciding that Rapp had failed to prove his allegations.
When the verdict was read, Spacey bowed his head, then hugged his lawyers. He did not speak to reporters as he left the courthouse.
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 briefly laid him on top of him on a bed.
Rapp testified that he ran away and fled as an inebriated Spacey asked him 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.
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.”
Spacey’s attorney, Jennifer Keller, said after the trial that the defense was “very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations.”
During closing arguments, she told jurors that Rapp made up the encounter and suggested reasons why Rapp 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.”
“So here we are today and Mr. Rapp is getting more attention from this lawsuit than he’s had in his entire acting life,” Keller said.
Rapp, 50, and Spacey, 63, each testified for several days at 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 “Star Trek: Discovery” on television 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 $30.9 million to the creators of “House of Cards” 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 any child. I knew that,” he told jurors.
During two days of testimony, Spacey also expressed regret for a statement he made when Rapp first went public in which he said he did not remember the encounter, but if that 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 world nervous. ‘industry.
“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 briefly impersonated then-Broadway bandmate Jack Lemon. He had testified earlier that his ability for impressions helped him in his acting career.