A tearful Kevin Spacey was found not guilty on Wednesday by a jury at a London court of committing historical sex offences against four men.
After more than 12 hours of deliberation, a jury acquitted the Oscar-winning US actor of nine charges, including sexual assault, causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, and causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity.
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Spacey, who turned 64 on Wednesday, began to cry and mouthed “thank you” to the jury, before wiping away tears with a tissue.
After he was released from the dock, he shook hands with his lawyers before leaving the court via a side door.
During the four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, jurors were told by prosecutors that the actor had aggressively groped three of the men in incidents between 2004 and 2013 in the United Kingdom, when he was working at London’s Old Vic theatre.
The fourth said Spacey performed oral sex on him while he had passed out in the Hollywood star’s London apartment.
Prosecutor Christine Agnew told jurors that Spacey was a “sexual bully” who took what he wanted when he wanted.
She said he was shielded by a “trinity of protection”: he knew men were unlikely to complain; they wouldn’t be believed if they did complain; and if they did complain, no action would be taken because he was powerful.
When he gave evidence, Spacey, who was tried under his full name Kevin Spacey Fowler, said the case against him was weak, and that the incidents, if they had occurred, were consensual.
He said he was promiscuous, a “big flirt” who had “casual, indiscriminate sexual encounters”.
While he might have made a clumsy pass at one of the men, he said he had never assaulted anyone and suggested that the accusers had come forward to make money.
Spacey told the court three of the four complainants had brought civil lawsuits against him, saying one had contacted him seeking a payment of more than 450,000 pounds ($577,400), and accepted tasking private investigators to look into at least three of the men.
His lawyer Patrick Gibbs said it was not a crime to like sex or have casual sex even if you were a famous person and that it was “not a crime to have sex with someone of the same sex, because it’s 2023, not 1823”.
The jurors also heard from singer Elton John and his husband David Furnish who gave evidence as part of Spacey’s defence.
Gibbs said Spacey was being “monstered” on the internet every night and became toxic in the industry.
Spacey was booted from “House of Cards” and his scenes in “All the Money in the World,” were scrubbed and he was replaced by Christopher Plummer. Aside from some small projects, he has barely worked as an actor in six years.
A New York jury last year swiftly cleared Spacey in a $40m lawsuit by “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Anthony Rapp on allegations dating back three decades.
Spacey had viewed the London case as a chance for redemption, telling German magazine Zeit last month that there were “people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London.”