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Kevin Spacey Found Not Liable in Sexual Battery Civil Trial

A New York jury sides with the notable actor, finding him not liable for battery in the sexual abuse case brought against him by Anthony Rapp.
Kevin Spacey Found Not Liable in Sexual Battery Civil Trial

A jury sided with Kevin Spacey on Thursday in one of the lawsuits that derailed the film star’s career, finding he did not sexually abuse Anthony Rapp, then 14, while both were relatively unknown actors in Broadway plays in 1986, reports the Associated Press.

"We’re very grateful to the jury for seeing through these false allegations," said his attorney, Jennifer Keller.

Jury: Kevin Spacey didn’t molest actor Anthony Rapp in 1986 (Associated Press)

Excerpt from the Associated Press: The verdict in the civil trial came with lightning speed. Jurors at a federal court in New York deliberated for a little more than an hour before deciding that Rapp hadn’t proven his allegations. When the verdict was read, Spacey dropped his head, then hugged his lawyers. He didn’t speak to reporters as he left the courthouse. "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," Keller added, a reference to other sexual misconduct claims against the actor, including criminal charges in England. Rapp and his lawyers also left the courthouse without speaking to reporters. In his closing statements to the jury Thursday, Rapp’s lawyer, Richard Steigman, accused Spacey of lying on the witness stand.
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According to the New York Times, Mr. Rapp’s claim was one of the most prominent in the early days of the #MeToo movement, as accusers started to come forward with allegations against high-profile men in the entertainment, political and business worlds. Mr. Spacey, a star of the political drama "House of Cards" and a lauded actor who had hosted the Tony Awards months earlier, quickly experienced career blowback.

Kevin Spacey Is Cleared of Anthony Rapp’s Battery Claim (New York Times)

Excerpt from the New York Times: The disclosure by Mr. Rapp, which BuzzFeed News published in October 2017, was followed by more than a dozen other sexual misconduct accusations against Mr. Spacey. He has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges in Britain, and outside the courthouse on Thursday, one of his lawyers, Jennifer L. Keller, said he would be proven innocent in all cases. The civil trial to consider Mr. Rapp’s claim of battery hinged on his account of a night in 1986, when, he said, he attended a party at Mr. Spacey’s New York apartment during a Broadway season in which both of them were acting in plays. Mr. Spacey, who was 26 at the time, denied that such an encounter ever occurred.
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The judge dismissed Rapp’s claim of assault before the trial started and dismissed his claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress after Rapp’s attorneys rested his case, leaving the jury to decide only the battery claim, writes CNN.

Jury finds Kevin Spacey not liable for battery (CNN)

Excerpt from CNN: Under New York law, battery is touching another person, without their consent, in a way that a reasonable person would find offensive. CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson saw Thursday’s verdict as a huge win for Spacey, one that demonstrates a jury can tune out the noise involving a celebrity’s alleged reported misdeeds in the #MeToo movement and evaluate a case based on the facts presented in court. The case was also problematic legally, with two counts tossed by the court – assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress – leaving the jury to consider only the battery claim. But the win was a "Pyrrhic victory" for Spacey given other charges that "hang over him, including criminal charges in the UK," CNN Legal Analyst Paul Callan said.
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