Kevin Spacey, drunk and “unsteady on his feet”, posed on Anthony Rapp of “satisfying his own sexual desires” at a party in Manhattan in 1986, when Rapp was just 14 and Spacey was 26, a lawyer for Rapp told jurors Thursday in a New York courtroom. York.
“What happened to Anthony is something that should never have happened,” Rapp’s attorney Peter Steghir told jurors, adding that his client felt “frozen” during the alleged encounter in Spacey’s room.
Spacey, now 63, denies Rapp’s allegation. Rapp, 50, filed a lawsuit against Spacey two years ago.
The two actors were seated in the courtroom on Thursday. Rapp, dressed in a navy suit and dark patterned tie, appeared solemn. Spacey, dressed in a gray suit and pale blue tie, looked relaxed. He laughed at the judge’s jokes, smiled at prospective jurors and sometimes whispered with his lawyers.
Rapp was visibly emotional during a break before the opening arguments began. He could be seen crying and dabbing his eyes with a crumpled handkerchief.
The jury of six men and six women was sworn in just after 12:30 p.m., kicking off a trial that comes nearly five years after Rapp first publicly detailed his allegations against Spacey. The allegations were among several against Spacey that brought an abrupt end to his Oscar-winning career.
Rapp alleges Spacey grabbed his bottom, lifted him onto a bed and briefly lay on top of him before Rapp “squirmed”, according to court documents.
“He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp told BuzzFeed News in an article published in October 2017. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to be with me sexually.”
In a tweet the day after the BuzzFeed article was published, Spacey said he had no recollection of the incident. He wrote in part: “If I behaved then as he describes, I owe him the most sincere apologies for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
Jennifer Keller, one of Spacey’s attorneys, forcefully refuted Rapp’s claims in her opening arguments. She called 14-year-old Rapp a “troubled young man” who concocted a fictional account of his alleged meeting with Spacey.
“Thirty-six years ago… Mr. Rapp created a story,” Keller said, adding that Rapp was “telling this story for sympathy, to get attention and to raise his profile.”
Keller described Rapp as “bitter” and filled with “simmering resentment” because he “never became an international star” like Spacey, who won Oscars for “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty.”
“We are confident that once you hear from both sides, you will be satisfied that this alleged assault never happened,” Keller told jurors.
She then tried to undermine Rapp’s claims, telling jurors that Spacey’s studio in 1986 had no bedrooms.
She also hinted that Rapp may have based his claims in part on plot details of “Precious Sons,” a play that gave him his first major Broadway role.
In this play, according to Keller, a character played by Ed Harris drunkenly mistakes his son (Rapp) for his wife, hugs him and then lies on top of him.
Rapp’s attorney, meanwhile, described the details of the alleged encounter in visceral terms. Steghir told jurors that Rapp could feel the “full weight” of Spacey’s body, essentially trapping the teenager on the bed.
Everything you need to know about Kevin Spacey’s trial
- The plaintiff, ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ actor Anthony Rapp, first publicly accused Kevin Spacey of sexual assault in a BuzzFeed News article published in 2017.
- Spacey denies Rapp’s allegations.
- The trial will focus on Rapp’s allegations of assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The judge dismissed the sexual assault complaint because Rapp filed it too late, according to court documents.
Steghir went on to say that the alleged incident caused lasting psychological harm to Rapp, saying in part, “Every time he hears the name Kevin Spacey, he’s back in that apartment in 1986.”
Rapp was one of the first people to make sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey at the start of the #MeToo movement.
Spacey’s trial is taking place in midtown Manhattan in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The presiding judge is Lewis A. Kaplan, who has overseen high-profile cases involving Guantanamo Bay inmates and New York mobsters.
Rapp currently stars in the Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Discovery.” He is also known for starring in the original Broadway production of “Rent” (and a subsequent film adaptation) and for starring in the movie “Dazed and Confused.”
The trial will focus on Rapp’s allegations of assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Kaplan dismissed a sexual assault complaint because Rapp filed it too late, according to a court document filed in June.
Rapp seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Spacey’s legal woes extend beyond the New York trial.
In the UK, he faces charges of sexually assault three men ten or more years ago. He pleaded not guilty in July during a hearing at the Central Criminal Court in London.
He is due to stand trial in the UK from June 6, 2023, according to the Associated Press.
Separately, a Los Angeles judge ruled in August that Spacey and his companies should pay nearly $31 million to the producers of Netflix’s “House of Cards” over losses incurred after he was fired for alleged sexual harassment of members of the family. crew, according to court documents.
Spacey, who played dastardly fictional president Frank Underwood on the show, denies the harassment allegations.