The jurors were sworn in Thursday morning in the civil trial of Kevin Spacey, the Oscar-winning star accused by fellow actor Anthony Rapp of sexual assault at a New York City party in 1986 when Rapp was 14.
Spacey, 63, dressed in a gray suit and blue tie, appeared relaxed during the jury’s selection process. He laughed at the judge’s jokes and smiled during whispered conversations with his lawyers.
Rapp, 50, meanwhile, seemed serious as the jurors answered questions from the judge. However, he became visibly emotional during a break, crying and dabbing his eyes with a tissue.
The judge appointed a jury of six men and six women. They were sworn in just after 12:30 p.m. Lawyers on both sides of the trial are expected to make their opening statements on Thursday afternoon before the court adjourns the day.
The trial comes nearly five years after Rapp first made his allegations public, which Spacey has denied. Rapp claims that Spacey grabbed his buttocks, lifted him onto a bed and lay down on top of him for a moment before Rapp “wrung out,” according to court documents.
“He tried to seduce me,” Rapp told BuzzFeed News in an article published in October 2017. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to have sex with me.”
In a tweet the day after the BuzzFeed article was published, Spacey, who would have been 26 or 27 in 1986, said he does not remember the alleged incident. He wrote in part, “If I then behaved as he describes, I owe him a sincere apology for what would have been very inappropriate drunken behavior.”
Rapp was one of the first to make allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey in the early days of the #MeToo movement. The allegations brought an abrupt end to Spacey’s career in the entertainment industry.
Spacey’s trial takes place in downtown Manhattan at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The presiding judge is Lewis A. Kaplan, who has overseen high-profile cases involving Guantanamo Bay inmates and New York City mobsters.
Rapp is expected to take the stand after the trial formally begins. He currently stars in the Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Discovery”. He is also known for appearing in the original Broadway production of ‘Rent’ and acting in the movie ‘Dazed and Confused’.
What you need to know about the Kevin Spacey trial
- The plaintiff, “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Anthony Rapp, first publicly accused Kevin Spacey of sexual assault in a… BuzzFeed News article published in 2017.
- Spacey denies Rapp’s allegations.
- The trial will focus on Rapp’s claims of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The judge dismissed the assault claim because Rapp filed it too late, according to court documents.
The trial will focus on Rapp’s claims of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Kaplan dismissed a sexual assault charge because Rapp filed it late, according to a court document filed in June.
Rapp claims damages and damages.
Spacey’s legal troubles extend beyond the New York trial.
In the UK, he is accused of sexually abusing three men a decade or more ago. He pleaded innocent in July at a hearing at London’s Central Criminal Court.
According to The Associated Press, he is expected to face trial in the UK from 6 June 2023.
Separately, a Los Angeles judge ruled in August that Spacey and his companies must pay the producers behind Netflix’s House of Cards nearly $31 million for losses incurred after he was fired for allegedly sexually harassing crew members, according to court documents.
Spacey, who starred as a dastardly fictional president, Frank Underwood, denies the harassment allegations.
His character was killed off and Spacey’s co-star Robin Wright took the lead role for the show’s sixth and final season.
Spacey won Academy Awards for the films “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty”.