Jury finds Kevin Spacey not responsible for battery in misconduct case brought by ‘Rent’ star Anthony Rapp
A jury found Tuesday that Kevin Spacey did not assault actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was 14, when the two were relatively unknown actors in Broadway plays in the 1980s.
The verdict closes a trial stemming from the #MeToo movement.
Deliberations began mid-afternoon after a lawyer for Rapp, Richard Steigman, urged jurors to make Spacey pay for trying to make a sexual advance on Rapp at Spacey’s Manhattan apartment in 1986 after a party. He accused Spacey of lying on the witness stand.
Jennifer Keller, an attorney for Spacey, told jurors that Rapp made up the encounter and said they should reject Rapp’s claims.
Rapp, 50, and Spacey, 63, each testified for several days during the three-week trial. The lawsuit sought $40 million in damages.
Rapp’s claims, and those of others, abruptly cut short what had been a meteoric career for the two-time Oscar-winning actor, who lost his job on the Netflix series ‘House of Cards’ and saw other opportunities dry up. Rapp is a regular on the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and was part of the original Broadway cast of “Rent.”
In his conclusion, Steigman said jurors should find Spacey lied to them when he insisted the encounter couldn’t have happened, in part because Rapp claimed it happened in a one-bedroom apartment and that Spacey lived in a studio.
“He lacks credibility,” Steigman said. As for his client, the attorney said he filed a lawsuit “to hold Kevin Spacey accountable.”
“Sometimes the simple truth is best. The simple truth is that it happened,” he said.
After the jurors were sent back to deliberate, Keller drew sympathy from U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan when she complained that Steigman had broken trial rules when he ended his summons by telling jurors that he hopes “you don’t let him get away with it”. time.”
Kaplan had established rules intended to prevent jurors from learning about sexual abuse charges against Spacey that were not part of the trial evidence.
Keller called Steigman’s statement “another clear and premeditated attempt to let the jury know” of other allegations against Spacey.
“I’m very concerned,” she added, saying it could affect the verdict.
Kaplan responded by saying that Steigman’s statement “shouldn’t happen” and that if the jury finds in Rapp’s favor, the attorneys may have to make written submissions on the issue. He also said that Rapp during his testimony should not have mentioned that there were other claims made against Spacey.
During his closing argument, Keller attempted to suggest reasons why Rapp would make up the encounter with Spacey, in which he said Spacey picked him up and briefly laid on top of him on a bed in his apartment. At the time, Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Rapp said he ran away and ran out of the apartment only to meet an inebriated Spacey at the door asking him to he was sure he wanted to leave.
Spacey’s attorney said it’s possible Rapp made it up based on his experience in “Precious Sons,” a play in which actor Ed Harris takes on Rapp’s character and lies down on him, briefly mistaking him for his wife before discovering that it is his son. .
She also suggested that Rapp later got jealous that Spacey had become a megastar while Rapp had “smaller roles in smaller shows” after his breakthrough performance in Broadway’s “Rent.”
“So we’re here today and Mr. Rapp is getting more attention from this lawsuit than he’s had in his entire acting life,” Keller said.