The sexual assault trial against Kevin Spacey, 63, is set to begin with jury selection in Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Spacey faces a civil lawsuit brought by fellow actor Anthony Rapp, who has accused Spacey of sexually assaulting him when he was 14 and Spacey was 26.
Rapp, best known for his roles in Star Trek: Discovery and the original Broadway cast of Rent, first spoke publicly about the alleged incident in a BuzzFeed News story in 2017. In the days that followed, more than a dozen other people also accused Spacey of sexual misconduct. Among them were Harry Dreyfuss, son of the Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, and a production assistant on Netflix’s House of Cards, of which Spacey was the star until he was fired over the numerous allegations against him.
Rapp has said he and Spacey first met in 1986 while they were both performing on Broadway. One night, according to Rapp, Spacey invited him to a party at his apartment, at the end of which Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him.
“My stomach churns,” Rapp, now 50, told BuzzFeed News in 2017. “I still to this day can’t wrap my head around so many aspects of it. It’s just deeply confusing to me.”
In an April court filing, Spacey “categorically” denied Rapp’s allegations, calling them “absolutely false” and stating that he “never had a sexual encounter with Mr. Rapp.”
But in a statement immediately after Rapp’s 2017 accusation, Spacey did not deny the incident had occurred, but said he does not remember it and apologized to Rapp “for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
“I’m beyond horrified to hear this story,” Spacey said at the time. “I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
Spacey also came out as gay in his statement, saying Rapp’s allegations had encouraged him “to address other things about my life.” Many criticized the announcement, saying Spacey was using it to deflect from the allegations against him.
When Rapp’s civil suit was first filed, the case included an anonymous second accuser, referred to in court filings as “C.D.” According to the indictment, C.D. was 12 years old when he met Spacey in 1981. Spacey was teaching an acting class C.D. was in at the time. He had sexual contact with Spacey on several occasions when he was 14, which included oral and anal sex. During their final encounter, Spacey allegedly “attempted to anally sodomize” C.D. for the first time, continuing to do so even after the teenager “resisted and said ‘no’ multiple times.”
Because he refused to use his full name in the trial, the judge dismissed C.D.’s legal claims against Spacey, dropping him from the case.
If the jury rules in Rapp’s favor, Spacey will likely be made to pay monetary damages to him. Spacey does not face criminal charges for the alleged incident. However, Spacey faces more legal battles: In May, British prosecutors charged Spacey with sexually assaulting three men. He faces four counts of sexual assault, each of which could be punished by six months in prison or an unlimited fine, according to Reuters. He is also charged with “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent,” which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Spacey has pleaded not guilty to the UK charges, the trial for which is scheduled to begin in June 2023.
In addition, a judge ruled in August that Spacey must pay $31 million in damages to House of Cards production company MRC for alleged sexual misconduct on set and monetary losses resulting from his removal from the show.
Spacey was also accused of groping an 18-year-old in a Nantucket restaurant in 2016, but the case was dropped in 2019 after the individual refused to answer questions in court about his cell phone, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to potentially self-incriminate, according to the Boston Herald. Another case against Spacey, in which an anonymous massage therapist accused Spacey of sexually assaulting him during a 2016 session, was dropped after the accuser died prior to the trial.