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Jury finds Kevin Spacey not liable in Anthony Rapp’s sexual assault lawsuit

Anthony Rapp (L) and Kevin Spacey
Anthony Rapp (L) and Kevin SpaceyPhoto: Wikipedia

A jury has found Kevin Spacey not liable in Anthony Rapp’s civil lawsuit against the House of Cards actor. Rapp had accused Spacey of an inappropriate sexual advance that allegedly occurred when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.

The jury reportedly deliberated for just over an hour. Neither actor spoke to reporters as they left the Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday.

Rapp later posted a statement on Twitter expressing his gratitude that the case was heard and thanking members of the jury for their service.

“Bringing this lawsuit was always about shining a light, as part of the larger movement to stand up against all forms of sexual violence,” the statement read. “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.”

In 2017, Rapp publicly accused Spacey of groping him, lifting him onto a bed, and laying on top of him after a party at Spacey’s home in 1986. Rapp sued Spacey in 2020 for assault, battery, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. The judge in the case had previously dismissed Rapp’s claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress, leaving only the battery claim to be decided by the jury.

Spacey’s attorney Jennifer Keller tried to cast Rapp as resentful of Spacey’s career and embittered by the fact that Spacey had remained closeted. “Mr. Rapp is getting more attention in this trial than he has in his entire acting life,” Keller said during closing arguments.

Rapp’s attorney, meanwhile, pointed to Spacey’s 2017 public apology to Rapp. During testimony earlier this week, Spacey claimed that he was pressured to issue the statement by his publicists, and denied ever having been alone with Rapp.

“They told me I couldn’t push back on the story,” Spacey said on Monday. “I knew I wouldn’t have any sexual interest in Anthony Rapp or any child. That I knew.”

Rapp’s lawyer, Richard Steigman, accused Spacey of lying. “He lacks credibility,” Steigman said. “Sometimes the simple truth is the best. The simple truth is that this happened.”

“We’re very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations,” Spacey’s attorney, Jennifer Keller, said on Thursday. “What’s next is Mr. Spacey is going to be proven that he’s innocent of anything he’s been accused of. That there was no truth to any of the allegations.”

Spacey faces numerous other accusations of sexual assault and abuse. In May, the actor was charged by the U.K.’s Crown Prosecution Service with four counts of sexual assault and one count of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.” The alleged incidents took place in London and Gloucestershire between 2005 and 2013. The trial is set to begin in June.

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