Kevin Spacey due in court over claims

Actor Kevin Spacey (right) is escorted by a court officer as he appears at the Nantucket District Court in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on Jan 7, 2019.
Actor Kevin Spacey (right) is escorted by a court officer as he appears at the Nantucket District Court in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on Jan 7, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK • Actor Kevin Spacey was due yesterday to appear before a judge on the tiny destination island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, over accusations that he sexually assaulted a teenager in 2016.

The House Of Cards star had asked that his lawyers represent him at the hearing, but Judge Thomas Barrett declined the request.

The formal charges come more than 13 months after the complaint was filed and are part of the latest chapter in the #MeToo movement after the sentencing of actor Bill Cosby and the indictment of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The case marks the first time Spacey, 59, has faced charges, although there are dozens of claims against him. He faces five years in prison if charged with sexually assaulting William Little, who was 18 at the time of the alleged incident in July 2016 at a Nantucket restaurant.

Little had been working as a busboy for the summer at the restaurant.

The two-time Oscar winner - for his supporting role in Usual Suspects in 1996 and his lead role in American Beauty in 2000 - told the judge in a letter that he intends to plead not guilty.

Spacey, who was forced out of public life by accusations of sexual misconduct in 2017, posted a video online last month of himself speaking about allegations of sexual abuse in the character of Frank Underwood, the scheming politician he played in House Of Cards before the show dropped him.

The message has several levels of interpretation, evoking both the destiny of Underwood, the lead character written off the show, and the claims against Spacey.

"You wouldn't believe the worst without evidence, would you? You wouldn't rush to judgments without facts, would you? Did you? No, not you. You're smarter than that," Spacey said in the video.

"Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with baited breath to hear me confess it all. They're just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved.

"Only you and I both know it's never that simple, not in politics and not in life."

Spacey was considered one of the finest actors of his generation, but his career nosedived following allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men in the United States and Britain.

Besides the Nantucket case, two other investigations are under way in Los Angeles and London, where he served as artistic director of the prestigious Old Vic theatre from 2004 to 2015.

The first public report of alleged abuse by him came from actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed that Spacey sexually abused him when he was 14 in 1986.

Spacey has not appeared on screen or on stage since Rapp came forward.

Director Ridley Scott even removed Spacey from his film All The Money In The World (2017) by shooting all scenes in which the actor appeared again with another star, Christopher Plummer.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline 'Kevin Spacey due in court over claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe