Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey has been cleared of all charges after a four-week trial in London on claims of sexual assault.
The Hollywood star, 64, had tears in his eyes as the jury at Southwark Crown Court found him not guilty of seven counts of sexual assault and two counts of other serious sexual offenses.
The allegations covered a period between 2004 and 2013, when Spacey served as artistic director at the Old Vic theater in the British capital. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Spacey thanked the jury after it cleared him following 12 hours and 26 minutes of deliberation across three days. Today also marks his 64th birthday.
In a brief statement to reporters outside the court shortly after the verdict, Spacey said he was “humbled.”
“I imagine that many of you can understand that there’s a lot for me to process after what has just happened today. But I would like to say that I’m enormously grateful to the jury for having taken the time to examine all of the evidence and all of the facts carefully, before they reached their decision. And I am humbled by the outcome today,” he said.
The actor finished his statement by thanking court staff and his legal team.
Spacey has won two Academy Awards for his roles in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty.” He has returned to acting in recent years after leaving “House of Cards.” The actor starred in the Netflix series for five seasons before being fired in 2017 over allegations of misconduct on and off the set.
During the trial, prosecutor Christine Agnew told jurors that Spacey was “a sexual bully” and a man who “delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable,” the PA Media news agency reported. The actor said the charges were “madness” and a “stab in the back.”
One complainant alleged that Spacey sat in the front of a car next to him while he was driving and grabbed the man’s hand to put it on his crotch. The complainant said that one time, Spacey acted so forcefully it “took his breath away.” Spacey denied this ever happened.
The second complainant alleged that Spacey assaulted him at a charity event, putting his hand on his leg, and grabbing his crotch with “such force it was painful.” Spacey said this never happened.
The third said he met Spacey while working at a pub in the English countryside. Later that night, at a party at the actor’s holiday home, he said Spacey “approached him and gave him a hug,” kissed his neck, grabbed his crotch and “squeezed,” while telling the man to “be cool, be cool.” The complainant said he pushed Spacey away and left quickly, calling his dad to collect him.
Spacey claimed that this was a “clumsy pass,” but denied sexually assaulting him.
The most serious accusation, made by the fourth complainant, an aspiring actor, said he contacted Spacey after having a brief interaction with him at a theater production, and asking Spacey for career advice. Spacey invited him to his London apartment two weeks later and sexually assaulted him, the man alleged. The complainant alleged that he had been drugged by the actor, and said he woke up to Spacey performing a sexual act on him.
Spacey told the court that the two had shared “a consensual, a very nice and lovely evening.”
Under questioning from Spacey’s lawyer, Patrick Gibbs KC, the complainants all denied either seeking financial gain, attempting to further their career or giving false accounts to the jury, according to PA Media.
Last year, a New York jury found Spacey not liable for battery on allegations he picked up actor Anthony Rapp and laid on top of him after a party in 1986.