US: Prosecutors drop sex assault case against actor Kevin Spacey
Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at Nantucket District Court in Nantucket, Massachusetts in January 2019 [File: Brian Snyder/Reuters]
Massachusetts prosecutors on Wednesday announced they had dropped a criminal case alleging that former House of Cards star Kevin Spacey groped an 18-year-old man at a bar in Nantucket more than three years ago.
Prosecutors said they decided to drop the felony indecent assault and battery charge against the Oscar winner after the alleged victim invoked his right under the United States Constitution against giving self-incriminating testimony.
Spacey’s lawyers had previously accused the man of deleting text messages that would support the actor’s defence. The man invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during a hearing earlier this month concerning the whereabouts of his mobile phone, which was missing.
The judge then questioned how prosecutors would be able to bring Spacey to trial if the accuser continued to refuse to testify, and prosecutors told the judge they needed time to decide how to proceed.
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On Wednesday, prosecutors said in court documents that they were dropping the charge “due to an unavailability of the complaining witness”.
Spacey, 59, had pleaded not guilty to the charge. His lawyers had called the allegations against him “patently false”.
Lawyers for Spacey and the accuser did not immediately respond to Reuters News Agency’s requests for comment.
The two-time Oscar winner was among the earliest and biggest names to be ensnared in the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment that swept across the entertainment and other industries.
Prosecutors had charged Spacey in the Nantucket case in December.
The accuser had told police Spacey had bought him several rounds of beer and whiskey at the Club Car Restaurant on Nantucket in July 2016 when he was 18 and said at one point, “Let’s get drunk,” according to charging documents.
As they stood next to a piano, Spacey groped him, he told investigators.