Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty to indecent assault in Nantucket court | CBC News

Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty to indecent assault in Nantucket court | CBC News

Lawyers for Kevin Spacey entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in Massachusetts court Monday on charges he groped an 18-year-old busboy in 2016.

The actor was arraigned on a charge of felony indecent assault and battery during a hearing in Nantucket District Court. The judge set another hearing for March 4.

Spacey does not have to appear, the judge ruled, but said he needs to be available by phone. He had tried to avoid Monday’s session, arguing his presence would “amplify the negative publicity already generated” by the case.

If convicted, Spacey faces up to five years in prison.

Spacey must stay away from his accuser and his accuser’s family, the judge also ordered.

The judge granted a request by Spacey’s lawyers to preserve the victim’s cellphone data for six months after the alleged assault. Spacey’s lawyer, Alan Jackson, said there is data that is “likely exculpatory” for Spacey.

Spacey and his lawyers declined to comment as they left the courthouse amid a crush of reporters.

The court appearance came more than a year after former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh accused the former House of Cards star of sexually assaulting her son, then 18, in the crowded bar at the Club Car, where the youth worked as a busboy.

Kevin Spacey is shown Monday in the Nantucket court. His lawyer Alan Jackson, right, sought to have texts from the accuser’s phone preserved as potential evidence. (CBC)

Jackson has sought to poke holes in the case, noting that the teenager didn’t immediately report the allegations.

The civil lawyer for the claimant said in a statement ahead of the hearing that his client is “leading by example.”

“By reporting the sexual assault, my client is a determined and encouraging voice for those victims not yet ready to report being sexually assaulted,” said Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of clergy sexual abuse victims.

Garabedian is not a part of the criminal case against Spacey.

Intense interest in small town

Media trucks lined the street before dawn, and locals on the island, which teems with tourists in the summer but quiets down in the winter, drove by slowly to take photos of reporters standing in line in the cold.

When the doors opened, more than two dozen journalists packed the courtroom hours before Spacey was scheduled to appear.

It’s the first criminal case brought against the 59-year-old actor since other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in 2017.

Unruh told reporters in November 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and then grabbed his genitals during the incident. She said her son fled the restaurant when Spacey went to the bathroom.

After the charge was announced last month, Spacey released a video in the voice of Frank Underwood, his character on Netflix’s House of Cards, in which he said, “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.” It was unclear whether he was referring to the charge.

He has also faced other allegations.

In the first case, actor Anthony Rapp said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter, but apologized in the event the allegations were true.

Rapp’s public comments led to a flurry of activity surrounding Spacey projects — he was replaced by Canadian legend Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World, which had already been shot, and the Spacey film Billionaire Boys Club was buried in a limited release by its studio.

Spacey won Oscars for best supporting actor in 1996 for The Usual Suspects and in 2000 for best actor in American Beauty.

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