Kevin Spacey in court to face charges of groping teenager
Actor Kevin Spacey has appeared in court to face a charge of indecent assault and battery stemming from an allegation of groping in 2016.
A not-guilty plea was entered on the two-time Oscar winner’s behalf by his lawyers during the hearing in the US state of Massachusetts.
He is accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old male after plying him with alcohol at a bar in Nantucket in 2016.
Assault claims against him have also surfaced in London and Los Angeles.
What happened in court?
Mr Spacey, 59, was mobbed by media as he arrived at the packed courtroom on the normally sleepy resort island of Nantucket on Monday after arriving by private jet.
The actor nodded when Judge Thomas Barrett told him he was not allowed to contact the alleged victim.
A lawyer for Spacey – whose legal name is Kevin S Fowler – had earlier asked the judge to allow the hearing to happen without the defendant present, but that request was refused.
He was released without having to pay bail after a 10-minute hearing.
The judge scheduled the next court date for 4 March.
If found guilty, he could face up to five years in prison.
The alleged incident occurred at The Club Car restaurant in Nantucket.
What are the charges?
Prosecutors announced on 24 December that Mr Spacey would be charged with indecent assault and battery stemming from an incident at the Club Car restaurant in Nantucket.
The alleged victim is the son of former Boston local television news presenter Heather Unruh, who spoke publicly about the case last year.
She accused Mr Spacey of buying her then 18-year-old son alcohol – the drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 – and then groping him.
‘To Kevin Spacey: Shame on you for what you did to my son’
The victim, who is also suing Mr Spacey in civil court, will not be present during the criminal trial.
According to prosecutors, the teenager told police that the actor had groped him as they stood together at a piano.
He told police that he had a video of the incident, and had sent a clip via the Snapchat app to his girlfriend.
Mr Spacey’s legal team say the video does not prove his guilt.
During Monday’s hearing, his lawyer Alan Jackson successfully argued the alleged victim must not delete the material from his phone.
Reporters and onlookers thronged the courthouse as Spacey arrived
No courtroom theatre
Nick Bryant, BBC News, Nantucket
This was a journey Kevin Spacey didn’t want to make, and having touched down on this jet set island in a private plane, he waited on the tarmac until the final moment before making the short drive to his first appearance in court.
His legal team argued he shouldn’t have to appear in person, because of the negative publicity that’s already surrounded this case. But the actor who’s spent so much of his working life in front of the cameras, found it impossible today to avoid them. He entered by a side entrance, outfoxing some of the camera operators and photographers who had staked out positions over the weekend, but by no means all of them.
A camera was also allowed into the courtroom to provide a live stream of the proceedings and to record the charge levelled against him – a charge he denies.
During this short hearing, the actor briefly shared a joke with his lawyer but did not address the court. Dressed in a grey suit with polka-dot tie and patterned shirt, he spent most of the time peering benignly ahead at the judge, displaying no outward emotion.
The small courtroom was packed with journalists and local onlookers – including some who had taken the ferry from the mainland to watch the proceedings.
Many seemed rather disappointed that all they got to see was deliberations between the legal teams and the judge rather than hearing from the more central figure. But this now is a legal process, rather than courtroom theatre.
What were the other allegations?
The actor’s career offers dried up after he was accused by actor Anthony Rapp in 2017 of making a sexual advance on him in 1986 when Mr Rapp was 14 years old.
Mr Spacey said he had no memory of the event, but publicly apologised before issuing an “absolute” denial of all other allegations.
In September last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Mr Spacey would not be prosecuted over an accusation of sexual assault that allegedly took place in 1992.
It said it fell outside of California’s statute of limitations.
Mr Spacey posted a cryptic video in the style of his House of Cards character in December
UK police are also investigating several allegations that centre around Mr Spacey’s time serving as artistic director at London’s Old Vic theatre.
The controversy has led to the actor being axed from a number of roles, including Netflix series House of Cards and the 2017 film All the Money in the World, which was re-shot without him.
On Christmas Eve, Mr Spacey posted a video contesting the allegations against him.
In the clip titled “Let Me Be Frank”, Mr Spacey appeared as his character Frank Underwood from House of Cards, and said: “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.”
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