Jury Backs Spacey in Sexual Assault Trial

Panel deliberates less than 90 minutes in suit brought by fellow actor
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2022 4:15 PM CDT
Spacey Found Not Liable in Sexual Assault Suit
Actor Anthony Rapp, right, and Ken Ithiphol arrive at a federal courthouse in lower Manhattan in New York on Thursday for a civil case against actor Kevin Spacey.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

A Manhattan jury found Kevin Spacey not liable Thursday for battery in a sexual abuse lawsuit brought by a fellow actor. The panel of six men and six women deliberated for less than 90 minutes, NBC News reports. When the verdict was read in court, Spacey hugged one of his lawyers, while his accuser, Anthony Rapp, appeared stoic. He accused Spacey of climbing on top of him on a bed at a party in 1986 when he was 14 and Spacey was 26; Spacey denied the allegation. The standard for a finding in a civil trial is not the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold required in a criminal trial, per the New York Times; the jury's charge was to decide which of men's accounts was supported by more evidence.

Both men testified during the trial, presenting emotional accounts. "I'm very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations," Jennifer Keller, a lawyer for Spacey, said after the verdict was read. Richard Steigman, an attorney for Rapp, issued a statement saying: "Anthony told his truth in court. While we respect the jury's verdict, nothing changes that." Spacey has been accused of sexual misconduct by others, and he has pleaded not guilty in a criminal trial due to be heard in London next summer. Three men have accused the actor of sexual assault in that case. (More Kevin Spacey stories.)

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