Kevin Spacey Goes on Trial in New York Thursday



Almost five years after Rent star Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of trying to molest him when he was 14 years old, Spacey’s trial is set to begin in a federal court in New York City. Rapp is seeking $40 million in compensatory and punitive damages in the civil trial, which begins Thursday, NBC reports. Rapp alleges that at a party in Manhattan in 1986, when Spacey was 26 or 27, the actor picked him up, put him on a bed, and made a sexual advance, reports the Guardian. He accuses Spacey of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. A common law sexual assault allegation was dismissed in June.

Spacey’s real last name is Fowler. According to a court document, Rapp alleges that when the actor lifted him up, he “‘grazed’ Mr. Rapp’s clothed buttocks for seconds as he did so, that Mr. Fowler placed Mr. Rapp back-down on a bed, and Mr. Fowler then briefly placed his own clothed body partially beside and partially across Mr. Rapp.” Rapp testified that there was “no kissing, no undressing, no reaching under clothes, and no sexualized statements or innuendo,” according to court documents. After Rapp first aired the allegations in 2017, Spacey said he had no memory of the incident but offered his “sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”

Spacey’s lawyers have sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that New York’s Child Victims Act, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits, requires an accuser to allege “squeezing, grabbing or pinching of a sexual or other intimate part,” reports the Guardian. Rapp’s lawyers have cited cases in which men were convicted on sex abuse charges for “brushing” or “grazing” the buttocks of women on the New York City subway. Variety notes that three other Hollywood figures—former producer Harvey Weinstein, director Paul Haggis, and actor Danny Masterson—will also face #MeToo trials this month. (Spacey will go on trial on sexual assault charges in the UK next year.)

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