Actor Kevin Spacey stands in district court as his attorney Alan Jackson, right, addresses the judge during arraignment on a charge of indecent assault and battery on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Nantucket, Mass. The Oscar-winning actor is accused of groping the teenage son of a former Boston TV anchor in 2016 in the crowded bar at the Club Car in Nantucket. (Nicole Harnishfeger/The Inquirer and Mirror via AP, Pool)

Kevin Spacey’s lawyers enter not guilty plea in sex assault

Former ‘House of Cards’ star is facing charges he groped an 18-year-old busboy in 2016

Lawyers for Kevin Spacey entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in Massachusetts court Monday on charges he groped an 18-year-old busboy in 2016.

Spacey was arraigned on a charge of felony indecent assault and battery during a hearing at Nantucket District Court. The judge set another hearing for March 4. Spacey does not have to appear, the judge ruled, but said he needs to be available by phone.

Spacey must stay away from his accuser and his accuser’s family, the judge also ordered.

The judge granted a request by Spacey’s lawyers to preserve text messages and other data on the cellphones of the victim and his then-girlfriend on the day of the alleged assault and six months after. Spacey’s attorney Alan Jackson told the judge they believe the cellphones contain information that is “likely exculpatory” for Spacey.

Spacey and his lawyers declined to comment as they left the courthouse amid a crush of reporters. Spacey, wearing a grey suit, navy vest and polka dot tie, didn’t speak during the hearing.

The hearing comes more than a year after a former Boston TV anchor accused the former “House of Cards” star of sexually assaulting her son, then 18, in the crowded bar at the Club Car, where the teen worked as a busboy.

Spacey’s lawyers have tried to poke holes in the case, noting that the teenager didn’t immediately report the allegations and that authorities have no witnesses to the actual groping. In court documents, Spacey’s lawyers write that the young man lied about his age, “welcomed drinks” bought by Spacey, left the bar with him to smoke a cigarette and gave Spacey his phone number.

“At best, this describes two people engaged in mutual and consensual flirtation, nothing more,” his attorneys wrote.

If convicted, Spacey faces as many as five years in prison.

The civil attorney for the accuser said in a statement ahead of the hearing that his client is “leading by example.”

“By reporting the sexual assault, my client is a determined and encouraging voice for those victims not yet ready to report being sexually assaulted,” said lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of clergy sexual abuse victims.

Garabedian is not a part of the criminal case against Spacey.

Media trucks lined the street before dawn, and locals on the island, which teems with tourists in the summer but quiets down in the winter, drove by slowly to take photos of reporters standing in line in the cold.

When the doors opened, more than two dozen journalists packed the courtroom hours before Spacey was scheduled to appear.

It’s the first criminal case brought against Spacey, 59, since other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in 2017.

READ MORE: UK police probing 6 assault claims against Kevin Spacey

A judge denied Spacey’s bid to avoid appearing in person Monday. Spacey had argued his presence would “amplify the negative publicity already generated” by the case.

Television anchor Heather Unruh told reporters in November 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and then grabbed his genitals during the incident. She said her son fled the restaurant when Spacey went to the bathroom.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people alleging sexual assault.

After the charge was announced last month, Spacey released a video in the voice of Frank Underwood, his character on Netflix’s “House of Cards,” in which he said, “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.” It was unclear whether he was referring to the charge.

Spacey has also faced other allegations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true.

___

Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Theatre production reimagines the music of Joni Mitchell

Arts Club theatre company presents ‘Circle Game’ at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre this week

Realtor from Nanaimo named president of real estate board

Kaye Broens becomes president of Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo gymnasts finish first all-around at competitions

Nanaimo Gymnastics School athletes had winning results at mainland events

Case against former Nanaimo CAO Tracy Samra expected to be dropped

B.C. Prosecution Service tells those involved with case that they won’t be required in court

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tax breaks would encourage construction of apartments

Re: Apartment construction up during start of 2019

High temperatures in Nanaimo break century-old records

Maximum high on Sunday edged out a temperature record that had stood since 1892

Cougar on Island might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

Conservation officer service looking for animal near Port Alice

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Most Read