Hollywood star Kevin Spacey has denied committing any sexual assaults as he took the stand in a British court to give his account of incidents prosecutors have alleged were criminal offences.
The two-time Oscar winner is standing trial in London on a dozen charges of sex offences against four men when they were in their 20s and 30s with the prosecution calling him a “sexual bully” who “delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable”.
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The US actor has pleaded not guilty to all 12 charges dating from 2001 to 2013 when he was working at the Old Vic Theatre in London. They include sexual and indecent assault counts and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent, which carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
After entering the witness box at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, Spacey denied all the allegations, saying he was “not on a suicide mission” after being accused of “aggressive” crotch grabs.
The 63-year-old told jurors he is a “big flirt” but said allegations against him are either “madness”, “make no logical sense” or are a “stab in the back”.
His lawyer Patrick Gibbs earlier told the jury that the complainants had reimagined consensual encounters “with a sinister spin” or, in some cases, simply “made up” their accounts.
Spacey’s testimony came a day after prosecutors rested their sexual assault case against him with the four men testifying over the past two weeks that he preyed on them.
None of the alleged victims knew each other, but each testified that they went to police after Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct in the United States in 2017 as the #MeToo movement gained momentum.
The accusations at the time put a halt to Spacey’s once-stellar career. He won a best supporting actor Academy Award for the 1995 film The Usual Suspects and a lead actor Oscar for the 1999 movie American Beauty. He was fired from the TV series House of Cards and most of his work dried up.
Three of the men said Spacey had a reputation of being drawn to good-looking young men, and one said he had been warned to avoid him.
“It was well known he was up to no good,” one of the men testified.
A verdict is likely to be delivered towards the end of the month. If found guilty, Spacey could face time in jail.
Spacey, who is free on unconditional bail, told the German newspaper Die Zeit in an article published last month: “There are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London.”