London: Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey has been found not guilty of all charges following a four-week trial in London on allegations of sexual assault, as per CNN.The jury at Southwark Crown Court found the 64-year-old Hollywood star not guilty of two counts of other serious sexual offences and seven counts of sexual assault. He was in tears when the verdict was announced.
The allegations concerned Spacey’s tenure as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in the British capital from 2004 to 2013. He had pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. After deliberation over three days, Spacey was found not guilty.
On Monday, Justice Mark Wall sent the jury outside to deliberate. The jury returned on Wednesday afternoon to deliver its verdict. Two Academy Awards have been given to Spacey for his performances in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty.” The actor played the lead role in the Netflix series for five seasons before being let go in 2017 amid claims of inappropriate behaviour both on and off the set.
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According to CNN citing PA Media news agency, Spacey was described as a man who “delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable” by prosecutor Christine Agnew during the trial. The accusation was described by the actor as “madness” and a “stab in the back.”
One complainant claimed that while he was driving, Spacey sat in the front seat next to him and grabbed his hand, placing it on his crotch. According to the complainant, Spacey once acted with such force that it “took his breath away.” Spacey disputed that this ever occurred. At a charity event, the second complainant claimed that Spacey assaulted him by putting his hand on his leg and grabbing his crotch with “such force it was painful.” Spacey stated that this never occurred.
The third claimed to have met Spacey while employed at a rural English pub. Later that evening, the actor claimed that Spacey “approached him and gave him a hug,” kissed his neck, grabbed his crotch, and “squeezed,” all while telling the man to “be cool, be cool.” This occurred at a party at the actor’s vacation home. According to the complainant, he pushed Stacey away and quickly left before calling his father to pick him up.
Spacey alleged that this was a “clumsy pass,” but he refrained from accusing him of sexual assault. The fourth complainant, an aspiring actor, made the most serious allegations, claiming that after briefly meeting Spacey at a theatre production, the actor asked Spacey for career advice. Two weeks later, Spacey invited him to his London flat and assaulted him there. The complainant claimed that Spacey had drugged him and that he woke up to Spacey engaging in sexual activity with him.
In testimony before the court, Spacey described the two as having “a consensual, very nice, and lovely evening.” According to CNN citing PA Media, all of the complainants denied seeking financial gain, trying to advance their careers, or giving false testimony to the jury while being questioned by Patrick Gibbs KC, Spacey’s attorney.