Kevin Spacey takes stand in sexual misconduct trial
(CNN) — Kevin Spacey has taken the stand as the first witness in his own defense in the sexual misconduct trial against him, brought by actor Anthony Rapp.
In a response to the first question from his attorney, Chase Scolnick, Spacey said Rapp’s allegations are not true.
Earlier, attorneys for actor Anthony Rapp finished presenting their case against Spacey.
Rapp, best known for his role in “Star Trek: Discovery,” claims that in 1986, Spacey, then 26, invited Rapp, then 14, to his Manhattan home where he picked Rapp up, laid him down on his bed, grabbed his buttocks and pressed his groin into Rapp’s body without his consent. He is suing Spacey for battery.
In a major victory for Spacey on Monday, Judge Lewis Kaplan granted a defense request to dismiss a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rapp’s lawyer tried to convince Kaplan to keep it in, but Kaplan said no.
Kaplan previously dismissed an assault claim in this case in June.
Rapp’s lawyer had no comment about Monday’s ruling.
Spacey’s attorneys have attempted to poke holes in Rapp’s claims by pointing to discrepancies, including dates Rapp claimed to have run into Spacey at industry events.
Before ending his time on the stand last week, Rapp’s attorney Peter Saghir asked the actor if he had been lying about his allegations against Spacey.
“I have not. It was something that happened to me that was not okay,” Rapp testified.
In Spacey’s testimony Monday, he also denied allegations made by Andrew Holtzman, who was called to the stand earlier in the trial for Rapp’s team.
Holtzman publicly alleged in 2017 that Spacey had grabbed his crotch and pressed his body against him without his consent, which Spacey denied on the stand.
When asked by his attorney, Spacey testified that he’s always been private about his life and his upbringing. He said his late father was a White supremacist and neo-Nazi, a fact he testified he’s never disclosed publicly before.
His father’s prejudicial views fostered his “intolerance” to bigotry, Spacey said, and also, in part, kept him from publicly acknowledging he is gay sooner.
Spacey said he grappled with his sexuality because his father used derogatory language about being gay and toward Spacey’s interest in theater.
He wanted fans to remember the roles he’s played, so he purposely kept quiet about his personal life, Spacey testified.
Spacey grew emotional testifying about the 2017 statement he put out in response to Rapp’s allegations published by Buzzfeed, stating his publicity team advised him that he’d be labeled a victim blamer if he pushed back.
“I was being encouraged to apologize and I’ve learned a lesson which is never apologize for something you didn’t do,” Spacey testified. “I regret my entire statement.”
He came out as gay in his public response to Rapp’s allegations and testified he regretted it “within minutes” of releasing his 2017 statement.
“I was accused of trying to change the subject, or trying to deflect, or that I was conflating an allegation with being gay, which was never my intention,” Spacey said through tears. “I would have never done anything to hurt the gay community, and I was so upset that that was what happened. I understood it in retrospect.”
The trial will resume Tuesday morning, when Spacey is expected to be cross-examined.
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