Kevin Spacey has begun giving evidence in his U.K. sexual assault trial.
via: Rolling Stone
Spacey’s testimony came after the court heard from the four men whose accusations have led to 12 charges against the actor (Spacey has pleaded not guilty and denied the claims). On Thursday morning, he largely responded to the allegations of the first complainant, who said that in the early 2000s, he was driving with Spacey to an event organized by Elton John; during the drive, the actor allegedly grabbed his genitals so hard, the man said he nearly crashed.
“That never happened,” Spacey told the court, per The Associated Press. “I was not on a suicide mission in any of those years.”
Spacey also attempted to cast some doubt on the accuser’s story by bringing up a potential inconsistency in the testimony. The man had said he believed the event occurred in either 2004 or 2005, but Spacey brought work schedules and itineraries that showed he was filming during that time. He also claimed he only ever attended one Elton John event in 2001.
While the accuser acknowledged he may have had the dates wrong, he was adamant the incident had happened. Afterward, he insisted, he stopped spending time with Spacey.
Speaking further about his relationship with the first complainant, Spacey described it as “intimate” and “somewhat sexual,” adding he likely instigated physical contact and told the court: “I’m a big flirt.” However, the actor claimed he always respected the man’s boundaries.
“He said things like, ‘This is new for me,’ so I think he may have been surprised by his reaction,” Spacey said. “The only thing he made clear was he didn’t want to go further than we were going, and I respected that.”
Right before the court broke for the afternoon, Spacey’s lawyer asked him what his reaction was when he heard the complainant had accused him of assault. Spacey said he was “crushed,” adding, “I never thought that [the man] I knew would … 20 years later stab me in the back.”
Spacey also addressed his decision to come out shortly after the allegations against him resurfaced, as well as the criticism that followed his announcement. “Members of the LGBTQ+ community were upset because I came out while I was responding to an accusation and now I understand why it was read that way,” Spacey said (via Variety). “It wasn’t how I intended it.”
“The gay community had been pressuring me for a very long time about coming out,” he added. “Maybe now the allegation against me by Anthony Rapp has been proven to be false, maybe people will read that statement with a little bit more understanding now.”
Spacey faces 12 counts of sexual misconduct-related charges tied to claims that allegedly occurred over a 12-year period between 2001 and 2012. During the trial’s opening statements in late June, prosecutor Christine Agnew called Spacey a “sexual bully” who “delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable.”
This is Spacey’s second major trial over sexual misconduct claims. Last October, the actor scored a major victory when a jury in the U.S. found him not liable for battery in a civil suit tied to allegations from Anthony Rapp, one of the first people to publicly accuse Spacey.