Kevin Spacey has been cleared of all nine sex charges in his U.K. criminal trial.
After more than 12 hours of deliberation following almost four weeks of evidence and testimonies, the jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court reached the not guilty verdict Wednesday afternoon. The judge, Justice Mark Wall, concluded that the “defendant may be discharged,” ending one of the most high-profile trials to emerge from the #MeToo era.
Spacey, for whom July 26 also marked his 64th birthday, reportedly wept on hearing the news.
In a short statement to the press outside the court roughly an hour later, an emotional-looking Spacey thanked the jury, his legal team and the court staff.
“I imagine many of you can understand that there’s a lot for me to process after what has just happened today,” he said. “I am humbled by the outcome.”
Spacey had pleaded not guilty to nine charges from four different men that escalated from unwanted touching to aggressive fondling to, in one instance, allegedly performing oral sex on an unconscious aspiring actor whom Spacey had invited to his flat. All the charges were dated between 2001 and 2013, most relating to the period when the two-time Oscar winner was the artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre, a position he held from 2004 to 2015.
When the trial began in June, there were 12 charges against Spacey. An additional count of indecent assault was added mid-trial, but then all four indecent assault charges were dropped due to a “legal technicality.”
The House of Cards actor had denied all the allegations, describing two of the sexual encounters as consensual and a third as a “clumsy pass,” for which he claimed he had later attempted to apologize, and something his lawyer Patrick Gibbs said the jury should not convict him over. The fourth encounter he denied entirely. He claimed the accusers were driven by “money,” were confused or had their facts wrong.
Prosecutor Christine Agnew had described Spacey as a “sexual bully” who used his celebrity status to get what he wanted and someone who “it would seem, delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable.”
The three-week trial saw Spacey give colorful insights into his celebrity lifestyle, with the actor name-dropping the likes of Jack Lemmon, Val Kilmer, Judi Dench and Elton John and telling various Hollywood anecdotes. John and his partner David Furnish were called as defense witnesses, appearing via video link from Monaco.
Spacey also spoke emotionally about how his “world exploded” following the allegations. “I lost my job, I lost my reputation, I lost everything in a matter of days,” he said, tearfully, adding that legal costs had crippled him financially. His defense claimed that Spacey had been “tried by social media.”
The actor’s glittering four-decade career imploded in 2017 after more than 30 people came forward alleging inappropriate sexual behavior. He was famously fired from Netflix’s House of Cards and edited out of Ridley Scott’s All The Money in the World and has barely worked in the six years since.
In October of last year, Spacey was found not liable in a civil sexual misconduct trial brought by U.S. actor Anthony Rapp, who had claimed Spacey had molested him in the 1980s when he was 14 years old. He now faces no further legal action.
Speaking to the German ZEITmagazin before the trial, Spacey said he anticipated working again almost immediately, were he to be found not guilty in the U.K. “I know that there are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London,” Spacey said. “The second that happens, they’re ready to move forward.”
Kevin Spacey Found Not Guilty in U.K. Sexual Assault Trial