Kevin Spacey found 'not liable' in Anthony Rapp sex abuse suit: Everything that happened during trial

Kevin Spacey has been cleared of accusations of sexual assault following a three-week trial.

A jury concluded Oct. 20 that Spacey did not molest actor Anthony Rapp when he was 14, while both were relatively unknown actors in Broadway plays in the 1980s.

Spacey and Rapp each testified over several days at the three-week trial.

The disgraced former "House of Cards" star, 63, was initially accused of abuse by Rapp, 50, in 2017, one of the first in a string of sexual misconduct allegations that tarnished Spacey’s acting and filmmaking career. Rapp filed the lawsuit in 2020, claiming the Academy Award-winning actor tried to take him to bed when he was 14.

Rapp sought compensatory and punitive damages, totaling $40 million, for what he alleged was assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan threw out the claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress after lawyers for Rapp finished their presentation of evidence. Kaplan said elements of the claim duplicate Rapp’s claim that he was a victim of assault and battery.

Here's everything we know about the civil trial and Spacey's history of sexual abuse allegations:

Kevin Spacey arrives to attend a civil trial hearing on sexual abuse charges brought against him by Anthony Rapp.
Kevin Spacey arrives to attend a civil trial hearing on sexual abuse charges brought against him by Anthony Rapp.

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Kevin Spacey cleared by jury in Anthony Rapp molestation trial

Deliberations lasted just over an hour Oct. 20. When the verdict was read, Spacey dropped his head. But he then hugged lawyers and others before leaving the courtroom.

Jennifer Keller, a lawyer for Spacey, told jurors that Rapp made up the encounter and said they should reject Rapp’s claims.

In his closing, Rapp's lawyer Richard Steigman said jurors should conclude that Spacey lied to them when he insisted that the encounter could not have happened, in part because Rapp claimed it happened in a one-bedroom apartment and Spacey lived in a studio at the time.

“He lacks credibility,” Steigman said. As for his client, the lawyer said he filed the lawsuit “to hold Kevin Spacey accountable.”

“Sometimes the simple truth is the best. The simple truth is that this happened,” he said.

After jurors were sent away to deliberate, Keller drew sympathy from Kaplan when she complained that Steigman broke trial rules when he finished his summation by telling jurors that he hopes “you don't let him get away with it this time.”

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What did Kevin Spacey say during his testimony?

Spacey finished his testimony Oct. 18. During his two days on the stand, Spacey maintained Rapp's allegations were "not true" and tearfully said that his managers and lawyers coerced him into an apology when Rapp first made the claims in 2017.

"I’ve learned a lesson, which is never apologize for something you didn’t do," Spacey said.

The actor also talked about his upbringing, calling his father "a white supremacist and neo-Nazi" who subjected his siblings and him to rants, and led Spacey to hate bigotry and intolerance.

Spacey said that as he became interested in theater, he endured the screams of his dad who "used to yell at me at the idea that I might be gay."

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What did Anthony Rapp say during his testimony?

Rapp testified that he squirmed out from underneath Spacey in the fully clothed encounter before fleeing the apartment, only to have Spacey follow him to the door and ask if he was sure he wanted to leave.

During an aggressive cross-examination on Oct. 11, defense attorney Jennifer Keller zeroed in on inconsistencies between accounts by Rapp and an older friend of meeting Spacey in 1986.

“I don’t dispute his story; I just don’t remember it,” Rapp said.

According to Rapp, he went to Spacey’s apartment for the first time for a party after meeting him after Spacey's Broadway show. He has testified that after the other guests left, Spacey forced himself on him by pinning him down on a bed – an allegation Spacey denies.

In 2017, Anthony Rapp came forward with allegations that Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted him when he was 14.
In 2017, Anthony Rapp came forward with allegations that Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted him when he was 14.

On Oct. 12, Rapp also testified he decided to publicly reveal a 30-year-old encounter with Spacey because knew he wasn't the only person the actor had made inappropriate sexual advances on.

Rapp became emotional and his voice shook as he commented in response to a question about his motivations, posed by one of his own lawyers near the end of his third day of testimony.

What have other witnesses said?

The first witness testified Oct. 7 that Spacey made a similar move on him years before he allegedly made a sexual advance on Rapp.

Andrew Holtzman, 68, was called to testify by lawyers for Rapp. He said that he was working in his office at the New York Shakespeare Festival in the summer of 1981 when Spacey entered and sat at a spare desk used by actors and others who worked for the company of seven theaters.

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Holtzman said Spacey didn’t say anything when he entered the office in a windbreaker and “tight blue jeans” and carrying a leather shoulder bag, but he recalled knowing him because he’d seen his picture in the program for a play, “Henry IV,” in which Spacey was performing at the time.

As he finished a telephone call, Holtzman stood up at his desk and a sexually aroused Spacey walked over to him, lifted him up by the crotch and put him on the desk, Holtzman recalled.

“What are you doing? Get off of me!” he said he told Spacey.

“I could feel his erection on my body,” Holtzman said.

After a few more minutes, Spacey got off him, grabbed his windbreaker and bag and stormed from the office, Holtzman said.

“He was angry,” he said.

On cross examination, a lawyer for Spacey showed Holtzman six pages of a program for “Henry IV” and Holtzman said he did not see Spacey’s photograph.

Kevin Spacey arrives at Federal court for his civil lawsuit trial, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in New York.
Kevin Spacey arrives at Federal court for his civil lawsuit trial, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in New York.

What happened in first day of trial?

Spacey’s lawyer told a jury Oct. 6, the first day of the trial, that a sexual misconduct allegation that derailed his theatrical career was the product of a young actor’s inability to tell the difference between real life and a scene he played on Broadway eight times a week.

In her opening statement to the jury, Spacey’s lawyer, Keller, noted that the incident Rapp described bore a close resemblance to a scene in “Precious Sons.” In the scene, an inebriated father, played by Ed Harris, mistook his son, played by Rapp, for his wife and climbed on top of him. In another scene, Harris lifted Rapp in his arms.

“How did Mr. Rapp come up with such an inventive and original story?” Keller asked the jury. “Eight times each week, actor Ed Harris picked up Mr. Rapp like a groom picks up a bride.”

“What does Mr. Rapp claim? Mr. Spacey falls on him drunkenly. No kissing. No grinding. No touching of his genitals. No request to touch his genitals. Nothing, just like in the play,” she said.

Rapp’s lawyer, Peter Saghir, said the encounter between the actors was real and that Spacey tried to “gratify his sexual desire” by pressing his pelvis into Rapp’s hips when they were on the bed.

“This was a deliberate act,” he said. “This is not horseplay.”

When Rapp told his story to Buzzfeed in 2017, he addressed the similarity with the scene in “Precious Sons,” saying that perhaps he was initially able to set aside the trauma of his encounter with Spacey because he was “weirdly accustomed to the action, because it had been happening in the play.”

What did Kevin Spacey allegedly do?

The civil trial focuses on an alleged encounter between Spacey and Rapp in New York City in 1986, when Rapp was a blossoming child actor and Spacey, then 26, was having a breakout moment on Broadway.

Rapp, who was 14 at the time, said the older actor invited him to a party at his Manhattan apartment then tried to seduce him in a bedroom after the other guests had left.

He said a drunk, swaying Spacey swept him up in his arms, like a groom carrying a bride, then laid him on a bed and climbed on top of him. Rapp said he quickly wriggled away and left, then kept quiet about what happened for three decades as both actors saw their careers take off.

In April, Spacey's lawyers attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing the alleged encounter cannot qualify as sexual abuse under New York's laws because the only alleged contact with an "intimate" part of the body by Spacey was when his hand grazed Rapp's buttocks. Months later, a judge ruled the lawsuit could proceed.

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Who is Kevin Spacey's accuser Anthony Rapp?

Rapp, who as a teenager acted in films including “Adventures in Babysitting,” is now a regular on the TV series "Star Trek: Discovery."

The Illinois native has an extensive theater background, having originated the role of Mark Cohen in the hit Broadway musical "Rent." He returned to the part for the 2005 movie adaptation and subsequent 2009 tour.

He also played the title role in the 1999 Broadway revival of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and was in the original 2014 Broadway cast of "If/Then."

Rapp's film roles include "Dazed and Confused," "A Beautiful Mind" and "Scrap." Among his recent TV credits: "The Knick" and "The Good Fight."

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What has Kevin Spacey said about the alleged sexual assault?

When Rapp told his story to Buzzfeed in 2017 as the #MeToo movement began to grip Hollywood, Spacey said he had no recollection of the incident, "but if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."

Since then, though, Spacey’s legal team has said the accusation is false. Rapp never attended the party, they said. And even if it had happened as Rapp described, they have argued, it wouldn’t constitute a sexual advance.

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Is Kevin Spacey facing more sexual assault allegations?

Rapp isn't the only one to accuse the actor of abuse. More than a dozen men and teen boys in 2017 accused Spacey of sexual harassment and assault.

One case goes to trial in London next year. In July, Spacey pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted three men between 2004 and 2015 when he was the artistic director at the Old Vic theater.

Spacey "strenuously" denied the allegations when he appeared June 16 in a London court for the preliminary hearing on five charges of offenses against three men.

In 2019, prosecutors in Massachusetts dropped indecent assault and battery charges that had been filed against Spacey after a man claimed the actor had groped him at a Nantucket bar. Spacey said he was innocent. His accuser also dropped a civil lawsuit.

What happened to Kevin Spacey after allegations surfaced?

Spacey was fired in 2017 from his starring role in the final season of Netflix drama series "House of Cards."

In August, a judge in Los Angeles approved an arbitrator’s decision to order Spacey to pay $30.9 million to the makers of the Netflix political drama for violating his contract by sexually harassing crew members.

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Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Maria Puente, Jayme Deerwester and Edward Segarra, USA TODAY; Larry Neumeister and Tom Hays, The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin Spacey, Anthony Rapp trial: Verdict, everything to know