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'Defiant' Spacey in court on sex charges

Judge refuses film star's attempt to avoid 'circus'

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In the dock: Kevin Spacey is led into the court in Nantucket, Massachusetts yesterday. Photo: Reuters

In the dock: Kevin Spacey is led into the court in Nantucket, Massachusetts yesterday. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

In the dock: Kevin Spacey is led into the court in Nantucket, Massachusetts yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Actor Kevin Spacey has appeared before a judge for the first time to face charges of sexual assault.

Spacey (59) is accused of groping William Little when he was an 18-year-old employee of the Club Car, a restaurant and bar on the island of Nantucket, in the evening of July 7, 2016.

He stated in court documents before trial he would plead not guilty. But in the courtroom itself yesterday he did not speak, and was not asked to enter a plea.

Wearing a purple paisley shirt and spotted tie, Spacey, flanked by his lawyer Alan Jackson, was ordered to have no contact with Mr Little.

Much of the hearing was concerned with a potential video recording of the incident. Initial reports had suggested Mr Little, now 23 recorded the alleged assault and sent the tape to his girlfriend.

It later emerged the clip only showed Spacey's hand, which was not on the accuser's genitals.

The hearing lasted less than 10 minutes, and a pre-trial hearing was set for March 4.

"It's very hard to tell whether this will proceed to full trial," said Adam Citron, senior legal counsel at New York law firm Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, and a former assistant district attorney.

"A lot may lie with the defendant's wishes. Kevin Spacey may feel he has done nothing wrong, and so not admit to any charges or settle. From what I've seen so far, he seems quite defiant, and so may take it all the way and seek a jury trial."

Mr Citron said the prosecution were proceeding with "enormous caution" - likely mindful of the circus surrounding Harvey Weinstein, who is currently facing trial in New York City on rape and sexual assault charges.

Weinstein's lawyers have attempted to pick holes in the case on technicalities and procedural issues; the prosecution for Spacey were so cautious they took their case to a judge to decide whether there was enough evidence to proceed.

Spacey, twice an Oscar winner, had tried to avoid appearing in court, with his lawyers arguing his presence would turn the arraignment into a circus.

In court documents, Spacey himself also asked the judge that he be exempt from court session, arguing his presence would "amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with the case."

The judge swiftly denied his request, taking only a few hours to rule the actor must attend.

Irish Independent