(AP) NEW YORK — In one of the lawsuits that ended Kevin Spacey‘s career, a jury on Thursday found that the actor did not sexually abuse Anthony Rapp, who was 14 at the time, while they were both relatively unknown actors in Broadway shows in 1986.
The civil trial’s verdict was rendered in an instant. After deliberating for a little over an hour, the jury in a federal court in New York concluded that Rapp had not established his claims. After hearing the verdict, Spacey bowed his head and hugged his attorneys. As he left the courthouse, he avoided speaking to reporters.
His attorney, Jennifer Keller, said, “We’re very appreciative to the jury for seeing through these fraudulent charges. The next step is for Mr. Spacey to have his innocence of all charges brought against him to be established. That there was no truth to any of the allegations,” she continued, referring to additional allegations of the actor’s s*xual misconduct, which included legal action in England.
Rapp claimed in court that Spacey invited him to a party at his residence and then approached him in a bedroom after the other visitors had departed. He claimed that the actor, who was 26 at the time, lifted him up and partially positioned him on a bed before wriggling away and running away as an inebriated Spacey questioned his decision to go.
Spacey assured the jurors throughout his sometimes-tearful testimony that it never happened and that he would never have been drawn to a 14-year-old. Damages of $40 million were demanded in the complaint. Rapp and his attorneys also departed the courthouse without addressing the media.
Richard Steigman, Rapp’s attorney, charged Spacey with lying to the jury during his final arguments on Thursday. He is not credible, according to Steigman. The simplest explanation is often the best. The obvious fact is that this took place. At the three-week trial, both Rapp, 50, and Spacey, 63, gave testimony over several days.
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The two-time Academy Award-winning actor’s once-soaring career was abruptly cut short by Rapp’s and other people’s charges. He was fired from the Netflix series “House of Cards” and other possibilities dried up. Rapp is a regular on the television show “Star Trek: Discovery,” and he was a member of the original “Rent” Broadway ensemble.
Spacey was accused of groping a man in a club in Massachusetts, the charges against him were eventually withdrawn by the prosecution. When accused of sexually assaulting three men between 2004 and 2015 while serving as creative director of the Old Vic theatre in London, he entered a not guilty plea three months ago.
This past summer, a judge in Los Angeles upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that Spacey must pay $30.9 million to the creators of “House of Cards” for breaching his contract by harassing staff workers. Unless someone comes forward publicly, as Rapp has done, The Associated Press normally does not name those who are accusing another person of sexual assault.
Because he was residing in a studio apartment rather than the one bedroom that Rapp claimed, and because he had never hosted an event other than a housewarming party, Spacey said during his testimony at the trial that he was certain the encounter with Rapp never took place.
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“I was aware that I wouldn’t be attracted to Anthony Rapp or any child s*xually. That I knew,” he informed the jury. Keller offered theories as to why Rapp fabricated the incident with Spacey up or imagined it during her closing remarks to the jury.
She speculated that Rapp may have created it as a result of his performance in the play “Precious Sons,” in which actor Ed Harris takes up Rapp’s character and lies on top of him before realising it is his son. She also implied that Rapp later developed resentment toward Spacey for becoming a megastar while Rapp had “minor roles in small productions” following his ground-breaking performance in “Rent” on Broadway.
Fame did not follow him, according to Keller. “The coach for Mr. Rapp has transformed into a pumpkin.” So now, Keller added, “Mr. Rapp is receiving more publicity from this trial than he ever has in his acting career.” She claimed that because he disgraced one of Hollywood’s most prominent actors, Rapp is now well known.
After Rapp first went public in 2017, Spacey released a statement in which he claimed he didn’t remember the encounter but that, if it did, “I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” During the two days of testimony, Spacey expressed regret for that statement.
Spacey wiped his eyes with a tissue as he claimed his attorneys and publicists had pressed him into making an understanding statement at a time when the #MeToo movement had everyone in the business on edge. He stated, “I’ve learned a lesson: never apologize for something you didn’t do.”
He also sobbed as he stated he regretted coming out as gay the same day as Rapp’s charges since some saw it as an attempt to change the issue or divert attention from Rapp’s discoveries. Spacey stated that he spoke about extremely intimate topics during the trial, including how his father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi who chastised him for being gay because he enjoyed the theatre.
A brief demonstration of Spacey’s acting skills was also given to courtroom viewers when he emulated his on-stage co-star on Broadway at the time, Jack Lemmon. He had previously stated in court that his talent for impersonation helped him in his acting career. The lead paragraph in this article has been amended to reflect Thursday as the right day of the week instead of Tuesday.