Not guilty verdict: Anthony Rapp loses a sexual battery suit for $40 million, and Kevin Spacey is found innocent of charges and allegations.
Kevin Spacey was acquitted of sexual battery in a $40 million civil lawsuit by a New York jury. After 80 minutes, jurors unanimously found that Rapp’s lawyers had failed to prove that Spacey “touched a sexual or intimate part” of Rapp.
After a New York jury gave a not guilty verdict, shocking the nation, Judge Lewis Kaplan formally dismissed the case, and Rapp seemed unmoved as Kevin momentarily bowed his head.
Kevin Spacey celebrated the not guilty verdict by giving his lawyer Chase Scolnick a big hug.
Since this is a civil trial, the jury does not deliberate on whether or not the defendant is guilty, but rather, as in the Johnny Depp defamation trial, determines whether the prosecution provided sufficient evidence to prove their case. In this instance, the jury determined that Anthony Rapp’s legal team failed to prove that Kevin Spacey molested their client and therefor the judge dismissed the case.
Rapp did not mention the verdict in statement posted on social media, but thanked the jury their time.
“Bringing this lawsuit was always about shining a light, as part of the larger movement to stand up against all forms of sexual violence,” Rapp stated.
“I pledge to keep on advocating for efforts to ensure that we can live and work in a world that is free from sexual violence of any kind. I sincerely hope that survivors continue to tell their stories and fight for accountability.”
Rapp first said that Spacey sexually assaulted him in a BuzzFeed article from 2017. He said that Spacey picked him up, put him on his bed, and pinned him down. In 1986, the alleged assault happened after a party at Spacey’s apartment in New York City.
At the time, Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. They met when they were both performing on Broadway. Rapp was in Precious Sons with Ed Harris, and Spacey was in a revival of Long Days Journey into Night with Jack Lemmon. Rapp said in court that it was one of the “most traumatic” things that had ever happened to him.
Rapp ultimately started losing his case when Spacey’s lawyers took advantage of inconsistencies in Rapp’s story. They emphasised, for example, that Rapp described Spacey as having a separate bedroom, despite the reality that the actor lived in a studio apartment with a single central room, as demonstrated by the floor plan they provided.
They further claimed that Rapp was irritated that Spacey was not openly gay and that he was envious of the actor’s superior Hollywood career.
“We’re very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations,” Jennifer Keller, an attorney for Spacey, said outside the courthouse after the jury gave their verdict.
The ball is now in Kevin Spacey’s court as he can consider filing a counter claim for damages and defamation. The actor lost important roles such as Frank Underwood in House of Cards after these allegations first surfaced.