Former “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey pleaded not guilty on Monday to a felony sexual assault charge stemming from a 2016 incident.
Spacey was seen smiling as he entered the courtroom, The Boston Globe reported. After the 10-minute hearing in Nantucket District Court, Spacey was released on his own recognizance by Judge Thomas Barrett.
Spacey did not speak to the media at any time before or after the hearing.
Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting 18-year-old in a Massachusetts bar pic.twitter.com/fwARgCcs8l
— The Independent (@Independent) January 7, 2019
Barrett ordered Spacey to have no conduct with the alleged victim. The next court date for the case is March 4, although Spacey is not required to attend.
Before Monday’s hearing, Spacey’s lawyers argued he should not have to appear in court because his “presence will amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case.” A judge rejected that request.
Boston news anchor Heather Unruh said Spacey groped her son at a Nantucket Island club in July 2016, causing him “tremendous anger and anxiety,” the Daily News reported. Her son was 18 at the time.
Unruh filed a report about the incident in 2017.
“The victim, my son, was a starstruck, straight 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was an alleged sexual predator or that he was about to become his next victim,” Unruh said when she announced that she had filed a report against Spacey.
“By reporting the sexual assault, my client is a determined and encouraging voice for those victims not yet ready to report being sexually assaulted. My client is leading by example,” Unruh’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, said Monday.
During the hearing, Spacey’s attorney, Alan Jackson, requested that cellphone data from Spacey’s alleged victim be preserved for up to six months after the alleged assault.
Defense lawyers have called the allegation against Spacey “patently false” and a result of “mutual and consensual flirtation.”
The charge Spacey faces could result in a sentence of up to five years in prison and require him to be registered as a sex offender if convicted, according to court documents.
The accuser said he and Spacey had at least eight drinks early on July 7, 2016.
The accuser said Spacey made a comment about sex and asked him to go home with Spacey, but the teen refused.
He said he was groped by Spacey as they stood in a crowd by a piano, and sent a Snapchat video of the incident to his girlfriend.
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