Updated Oct 20, 2022 - Economy

Kevin Spacey not liable in sex abuse case, jury rules

ctor Kevin Spacey arrives at United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at court for the Southern District of New York. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

A jury ruled Thursday that actor Kevin Spacey was not liable for battery against Anthony Rapp, according to multiple reports.

Driving the news: The case was born during the early days of the #MeToo movement during which the former "House of Cards" actor was fired from the Netflix series.

  • The jury made its ruling after about an hour of deliberation, per multiple reports.

Details: Rapp alleged that Spacey made a sexual advance on Rapp in 1986 after a party when the two were relatively unknown actors who had become friends on Broadway, Axios previously reported.

  • Rapp said Spacey climbed on top of him and made a sexual advance at the party when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26, NBC News reports.
  • The lawsuit sought $40 million in damages.

Spacey denied the allegations from Rapp, who said it was “the most traumatic single event” of his life.

  • Rapp's team accused Spacey of lying on the stand, while Spacey's lawyers accused Rapp of making up the encounter, per AP.
  • Both Rapp and Spacey testified on the witness stand during the civil trial, giving emotional testimonies.

Spacey’s lawyer, Jennifer Keller, told Axios in an emailed statement that the actor was “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. And he is deeply thankful to this particular jury.”

  • She said the jurors were six women and five men.
  • ”Their verdict was swift and decisive. Justice was done today,” she said.

Rapp’s legal team did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: Spacey has faced a number of sexual assault and harassment charges after Rapp’s account, which was first reported by BuzzFeed in 2017.

  • Days later, eight “House of Cards” employees accused Spacey of sexual harassment and assault, saying he engaged in inappropriate behavior on set, per CNN.
  • In August, Spacey was ordered to pay $31 million to the makers of “House of Cards” because the firing forced the show to rework its final episodes and lose episodes, resulting in financial losses, Axios previously reported.
  • Earlier this summer, Spacey also pleaded not guilty to five sexual assault charges in the U.K., per the Washington Post.

This story has been updated with a statement from Spacey's lawyer.

Go deeper