The prosecution in Kevin Spacey’s trial for sexual assault called the actor a “sexual bully” and told the jury it was normal to be “starstruck or overwhelmed” as the trial began, warning “you must keep yourself grounded and true to the oath.”
Spacey is on trial for 12 counts of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court in London, U.K. The prosecution alleges the assaults took place against four men in the U.K. between 2001 and 2013, when Spacey was living and working in London.
Barrister Christine Agney KC gave the prosecution’s opening statement on Friday morning, in which she set out who Spacey was, calling him an “extremely famous actor who has won a number of awards” and setting out the charges against him.
“Four men who are not known to each other but had the misfortune to attract Mr Spacey’s attention,” is how Agney described the alleged victims, who must not be named publicly under U.K. law.
She also told the 12-strong jury that Spacey has been accused of sexually assaulting four men and that Spacey maintained the sexual encounters were either made up by the men or were consensual.
Agnew also set out in explicit detail the alleged assaults. The first complainant, who was connected to Spacey through his job at the Old Vic, told police he had come into contact with the actor regularly in the early 2000s through his work and that Spacey had spoken “quite openly” about his sexuality, which the complainant found “unusual” and not a “normal conversation” he would have given their professional relationship. He described Spacey as “touchy feely.”
As time progressed, however, the complainant alleged that the touching became “more intense,” including rubbing his legs and stroking his neck. Eventually, he said, this escalated to Spacey touching the complainant’s genitals over his clothes and moving the complainant’s hand so that it was over Spacey’s genitals. The complainant made his objections clear, he said, telling Spacey to stop and at one point saying, “I don’t want to feel your knob.” He also said Spacey touched his buttocks on a number of occasions. The complainant said he finally stepped away from his role after one particular incident in which Spacey, who appeared to have been drinking and seemed “excited” while on his way to a “lavish” party, grabbed the complainants genitals extremely hard.
The second complainant told police he had encountered the actor at a charity function in 2005 where he, the complainant, was working. Spacey allegedly made sexually explicit comments to him, including asking “Have we fucked?” and asking him about the size of his penis before grabbing it “with such force that it was painful.” The second complainant says he told Spacey, “No, I’m not like that” at which the actor “simply laughed.”
The third complainant says he first met Spacey at an audition before later contacting him to seek mentoring. The two men arranged to meet for a beer before the complainant, who admitted to being “starstruck,” ended up at a London residence with the actor. There he says he fell asleep, waking up around five hours later to find Spacey performing oral sex on him. The claimant says he told the actor to stop. Spacey then told him to leave the flat and not tell anyone what had happened. The third complainant reportedly told a friend the encounter had “really fucked me up.”
The fourth and final complainant alleges he was assaulted by Spacey outside of London, after the two met at a village pub. After drinking in a group, the actor invited everyone back to the residence where he was staying. There he gave the fourth complainant a hug and kissed him on the neck. The prosecutor said Spacey then told the man “be cool” before grabbing his crotch and squeezing it. The complainant told Spacey, “Sorry man I don’t bat for that team,” before calling his father to pick him up. According to Agnew, the complainant’s father recalled the incident, telling his son at the time it would be “impossible” to go up against the actor.
Agnew said that Spacey had denied all the allegations in two separate interviews with the Metropolitan Police. Of the first complainant, Spacey said he found him to be a “clever and charming man” and was “baffled and deeply hurt” he had “reimagined” their time together. Spacey confirmed he had attended the charity event that was the backdrop of the second complaint but said he did not recall ever meeting the complainant there and denied making sexual remarks. Of the third complainant, Spacey said he did not recall meeting him or performing oral sex on someone who did not consent. The actor said he did not recognize the fourth complainant’s name or photograph, although he had been at the pub where they met a number of times. He said he may have made a “clumsy pass” at someone but denied the activity described by the fourth complainant.
Closing the prosecution’s opening statement, Agnew said that Spacey had “abused his power… that his reputation and fame afforded” him “taking who and what he wanted when he wanted.”
It is not customary in the U.K. courts for the defense to make an opening statement but Spacey’s lawyer, Patrick Gibbs KC, was permitted to make a few remarks to the jury. Gibbs said that Spacey “completely denied” every charge and urged the jury to question the evidence they will be presented with over the coming weeks.
“You will soon hear, I suggest, some truths, you will soon hear some half-truths, you will also hear some deliberate exaggerations and you’ll hear many damned lies,” said Gibbs, who added the victims may have wanted to benefit from Spacey’s wealth and influence.
The jury also heard that some of the complainants (it was not confirmed which or how many) are pursuing a civil case against Spacey in the London High Court. The civil case has been effectively stayed until the outcome of the criminal trial.
“Perhaps we all think it would be lovely to famous,” Gibbs said. “But you will get some insights into fame in this trial and the way it changes, in particular, the way that other people behave towards you.”
The trial was then adjourned for the day. It will resume on Monday.