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Kevin Spacey Takes Stand in London Sexual Assault Trial, Describes Himself as "Big Flirt"
Kevin Spacey described the allegations of the first of his four accusers as a "stab ... in the back."
Two weeks into his U.K. trial over allegations of sexual assault, Kevin Spacey has begun to defend himself to jurors. The 63-year-old Academy Award-winning actor took the stand in London on Thursday and painted a much different picture than the accusers and prosecutors set forth.
Spacey admitted to being just “a big flirt” who had a “romantic” and “somewhat sexual” friendship with the first of four accusers. “I liked him greatly. We had a good time together. We laughed a lot,” he told jurors.
The complainant accused the actor of assaulting him up to 12 times, including when Spacey allegedly grabbed his crotch so hard that he almost drove off the road on their way to a showbiz party in the early 2000s. When asked if he caused the accuser to “come off the road” when he groped the man, Spacey said it never happened. “I was not on a suicide mission on any of those years.”
Spacey characterized their relationship much differently, saying the man was funny and charming. “It didn’t happen in a violent, aggressive, painful way. It was gentle, and it was touching, and it was, in my mind, romantic,” he added, acknowledging he probably made the first moves. Spacey said he felt “crushed” when the man accused him of sexual assault. “I never thought that (the man) I knew would… 20 years later stab me in the back,” he said, as reported by the Associated Press.
What are the accusations facing Kevin Spacey?
The incidents allegedly involved four men and occurred between 2001 and 2013 when Spacey was artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre. The four alleged victims did not know each other, yet they each independently described unsettling interactions with Spacey, from unwanted touches to aggressive groping.
One aspiring actor seeking Spacey’s mentorship claims he was drugged and assaulted instead. Calling Spacey a “vile sexual predator,” he said he either fell asleep or passed out on the actor’s sofa and woke up to find him performing oral sex on him, the AP reported.
Among the 12 charges are four counts of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. Facing prison time if found guilty, the latter charge carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Spacey denies all wrongdoing.
Back in 2017, at least 20 young men came forward at the Old Vic to report alleged sexual misconduct by Spacey, according to the AP. The allegations included “a range of inappropriate behavior,” from actions that made people feel uncomfortable to “sexually inappropriate” touching. At the time, officials at the Old Vic encouraged 14 of the complainants to go to the police, and they appointed law firm Lewis Silkin to investigate. Richard Miskella, a partner at the firm, led the investigation and told AP that when the firm invited Spacey to participate in its inquiries, “he didn’t respond.”
On Thursday, fighting back tears and dabbing his eyes with a tissue, Spacey told London jurors how his career came crashing down after the sexual misconduct allegations six years ago. “My world exploded,” he tearily said. The U.K. trial is expected to last four weeks, so a verdict is likely by the end of the month.