verdict reached

Anthony Rapp reacts to losing his civil case against Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey and Anthony Rapp
Kevin Spacey and Anthony Rapp (Photos: Shutterstock)

The jury in the trial between actors Anthony Rapp and Kevin Spacey took around 80 minutes yesterday to throw out Rapp’s $40million lawsuit.

Rapp originally sued Spacey for assault, battery and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. It dated back to an alleged incident at a party Spacey hosted at his New York apartment in 1986. Rapp, then 14, says Spacey, 26, tried to initiate a sexual encounter with him.

Rapp’s allegations first came to light in a Buzzfeed article in 2017. It appeared in the wake of the growing #MeToo movement in the entertainment industry.

Related: John Barrowman recalls encounter with Kevin Spacey when he was 19

During the two-week trial, Spacey’s defense team successfully persuaded the judge to drop the “intentionally inflicting emotional distress” charge, essentially reducing the case to sexual battery.

Rapp’s team had asked for $40million in damages for “emotional anguish.” However, the jury unanimously agreed Rapp failed to prove Spacey “touched a sexual or intimate body part” and that Spacey was “not liable.” Judge Lewis Kaplan subsequently dismissed the civil case.

“I sincerely hope that victims can continue to tell their stories”

Rapp posted a statement to Twitter shortly after the judge dismissed the case.

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have my case heard before a jury, and I thank the members of the jury for their service,” he said.

“Bringing this lawsuit was always about shining a light, as part of the larger movement to stand up against all forms of sexual violence.

“I pledge to keep on advocating for efforts to ensure that we can live and work in a world that is free from sexual violence of any kind. I sincerely hope that victims can continue to tell their stories and fight for accountability.”

Spacey’s attorney responds to verdict

Spacey’s lawyer said in a statement afterward, “Mr. Spacey is grateful to live in a country where the citizens have a right to trial by impartial jurors who make their decision based on evidence and not rumor or social media.”

Spacey’s lawyer’s consistently attacked the credibility of Rapp’s recollections in court. In particular, they focussed on his memory of Spacey picking him up and carrying him to a bedroom. Rapp claims Spacey placed him on a bed and lay on top of him, grazing his hand against his buttocks before Rapp was able to “wriggle” away and leave.

Spacey said he was living in a studio apartment at the time with no separate bedroom.

Rapp’s attorney, Pete Saghir, told AFP his client had “told his truth in court” and “while we respect the jury’s verdict, nothing changes what happened to him.”

Related: Kevin Spacey’s defense team aggressively quiz Anthony Rapp in sexual misconduct trial

Besides this civil case, other men have come forward to make allegations against Spacey. He faces a separate criminal trial in the UK.

In August, Spacey was also ordered by a judge in Los Angeles to pay the producers of the Netflix show, House of Cards, $31million to cover losses they incurred after firing him in 2017 after allegations emerged of him sexually harassing crew members.

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