The verdict in Kevin Spacey’s London sexual assault trial is here. The actor has been found not guilty and cleared of all nine charges against him.
The verdict was rendered after over 48 hours of deliberation. BBC News reports that the actor appeared emotional upon being acquitted.
Spacey faced sexual and indecent assault charges from four men over incidents alleged to have occurred between 2004 and 2013 when the actor was the director of London’s famed Old Vic Theatre.
When the Crown Prosecution Service brought charges against Spacey in 2022 it raised the specter of whether the actor would be willing to travel to London to face them. If he had been unwilling, an extradition would have had to be arranged. Instead, Spacey voluntarily journeyed to London to be formally charged and has appeared every day at the Southwark Crown Court on London’s South Bank as the trial unfolded.
Spacey, 64, was described by his four accusers as a “sexual bully” and predator in testimony. But the actor also had 10 character witnesses testifying in his defense, including some who invoked dates suggesting Spacey was occupied elsewhere and could not have committed the crimes on the occasions alleged. Elton John and David Furnish have testified in his defense, as did Chris Lemmon, the son of the late actor Jack Lemmon. Spacey’s defense barrister, Patrick Gibbs, alleged that the charges were the result of Spacey having been “tried by social media.” The actor also appeared in the dock for two days of testimony and cross-examination during the trial himself.
Spacey maintained that of the four men’s charges, two were consensual, one was a “clumsy pass,” and the fourth never happened at all. The London court agreed.
The actor already beat a charge in the U.S. from actor Anthony Rapp, who alleged inappropriate behavior from the actor in the 1980s when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was in his 20s.
Of the nine charges against Spacey, seven were for sexual assault, one was for causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, and one was for causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity. The last was the most serious charge and could have resulted in a years-long prison sentence for the actor.
When the allegations of sexual misconduct first hit Spacey in 2017 at the height of the #MeToo movement, his Hollywood career came to an immediate end. He was fired from the last season of “House of Cards,” where he had played southern politico Frank Underwood and helped deliver Netflix’s first streaming-series success. Famously, he was also fired by Ridley Scott from the J. Paul Getty thriller “All the Money in the World,” even though he had finished filming the role, and was replaced by Christopher Plummer for a rapid reshoot. It was a stunning and immediate fall: just that summer, Spacey had hosted the 71st Annual Tony Awards. And months before that, he’d hosted a televised tribute to Tony Bennett for the singer’s 90th birthday.