Disgraced actor Kevin Spacey has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage boy at a bar in Massachusetts—the first charges to arise from numerous allegations leveled against him since the start of the #MeToo movement.
Attorney Alan Jackson entered a plea of not guilty to one felony count of indecent assault and battery in a Nantucket district court room on Monday, as Spacey stood by silently, hands clasped in front of him. The charges stem from a July 2016 incident in which Spacey allegedly groped a then-18-year-old busboy at a local restaurant.
Prosecutors did not request bail from the actor, but ordered him to stay away from the alleged victim and any witnesses.
Spacey’s defense team, meanwhile, secured a motion to preserve all cell phone and cloud data from the victim’s phone for six months following the alleged assault, claiming it could contain exculpatory evidence. The next court date was set for March 4.
Spacey had attempted not to appear at Monday’s hearing, claiming his presence would “amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case,” but Judge Thomas Barrett rejected the motion. On Monday, a flurry of media activity jostled the usually sleepy vacation town of Nantucket, with dozens of reporters jostling to get a shot of the actor entering the courtroom.
Spacey set off his own media frenzy last month when he released a bizarre video addressing the numerous allegations against him, delivered in the voice of his former House of Cards character Frank Underwood. Dressed in an apron and standing in a kitchen, Spacey decried those who would believe “the worst without evidence."
“Of course some believed everything and have just been waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all,” he said in the three-minute video titled “Let Me Be Frank.” “They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved. Wouldn’t that be easy?”
The video set off a wave of criticism from fellow celebrities, with #MeToo figurehead Alyssa Milano calling it “creepy” and actress Ellen Barkin calling it a “very disturbing message.”
The Nantucket case is the first to result in charges against the actor. The accusations were first leveled by the teen’s mother, former Boston television news anchor Heather Unruh, at an emotional 2017 press conference. Unruh told reporters the actor plied her son with alcohol and stuck his hands down the teenager’s pants after his restaurant shift.
Attorneys for Spacey have attempted to poke holes in this account, asking why the alleged victim did not move away or tell the actor to stop during what he has described as a three-minute assault.
The victim’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, did not respond to a request for comment, but released a statement via email.
“By reporting the sexual assault, my client is a determined and encouraging voice for those victims not yet ready to report being sexually assaulted,” he said. “My client is leading by example.”
Spacey has previously been accused of sexual assault or harassment by more than a dozen men since the #MeToo movement began in 2017. The first to come forward was Broadway star Anthony Rapp, who claimed the actor made sexual advances on him when he was 14 and Spacey was 26. An investigation by the Old Vic, a theater in London where Spacey formerly served as artistic director, uncovered 20 allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor.
The allegations resulted in Spacey being cut from the final season of House of Cards and edited out of a movie that was set to hit theaters last year. Just last week, however, a colleague told Page Six that Spacey was still getting acting offers from Europe and Russia, and planned to come back to American movies “in a few years.”
—Jamie Ross contributed reporting.