Kevin Spacey says he’s ‘enormously grateful’ after being cleared in U.K. trial. What’s next for the actor?

Kevin Spacey’s U.K. sexual assault trial is over — with the verdict in his favor— in the latest of a series of legal battles for the House of Cards actor. Ahead of the trial, he said his career was riding on a not guilty verdict, which he now has.

“I imagine that many of you can understand that there’s a lot for me to process after what has just happened today,” the Oscar winner said outside the Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday. “But I would like to say that I am enormously grateful to the jury for having taken the time to examine all of the evidence and all of the facts carefully before they reached the decision. And I am humbled by the outcome today. I also want to thank the staff inside this courthouse, the security and all those who took care of us every single day, my legal team … for being here every day and that’s all I have to say for the moment. Thank you very much.”

Spacey, who turned 64 on the day of the verdict, was cleared of nine sexual offense charges involving four unidentified men between the period of 2001 and 2013. During most of that period, Spacey was the artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London. (He had faced 12 counts in the criminal case, but they were reduced to nine last week due to a “legal technicality.”)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Kevin Spacey speaks to press after leaving court at Southwark Crown Court on July 26, 2023 in London, England. The U.S. actor who starred in the popular TV series House of Cards and the film The Usual Suspects has been cleared of all sexual assault charges brought by men  during his time as Artistic Director of The Old Vic Theatre. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Kevin Spacey spoke to the press outside Southwark Crown Court after being found not guilty. (Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The allegations against Spacey, called a “sexual bully” by prosecutors, included sexual assault, causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent and causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. In his defense, the Unusual Suspect star said he was promiscuous — a “big flirt” who had “casual, indiscriminate sexual encounters” — but said it was “consensual.”

The star — who stood in a transparent box in the middle of the courtroom when the verdict was read — cried when the final “non guilty” was announced. He mouthed thank you to the jury, which deliberated over three days, and wiped his tears with a tissue. According to the New York Times, on the way out of court, he shook the hands of several jurors and kissed two security guards on the cheek.”

This court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook shows actor Kevin Spacey appearing at Southwark Crown Court, London, Wednesday July 26, 2023. A London jury has acquitted Kevin Spacey on sexual assault charges stemming from allegations by four men dating back 20 years. Jurors returned their verdicts Wednesday in Southwark Crown Court after deliberating over three days. (Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP)

This court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook on the day he was acquitted. (Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP)

One of several legal proceedings related to #MeToo allegations

This case is a big win for Spacey, who hopes to revive his Hollywood career, which came to a screeching halt in 2017 amid #MeToo. That was when Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp publicly accused him of sexual misconduct. Rapp claimed he was 14 years old in 1986 when Spacey, then 26, made a sexual advance. Spacey said he did “not remember the encounter,” and used the moment to come out as gay (for which he’s been criticized). Rapp’s allegation was the first of many against Spacey, who has maintained his innocence. Others came forward — including Harry Dreyfuss (son of Richard) and actor Roberto Cavazos — to make claims including inappropriate touching.

What resulted, in addition to Spacey being fired from House of Cards and cut from All the Money in the World, has been years of litigation:

  • The U.K. criminal case was first brought in May 2022 and saw the charges expand along the way. He’s now been exonerated in the case.

  • In September 2020, an unidentified man (initials “C.D.”) filed a lawsuit against Spacey in NYC, alleging that the star committed sexual battery against them when the accuser was 14. Rapp subsequently joined the lawsuit, which was a civil case because the alleged incident was outside the statute of limitations. “C.D.” ended up dropping out of the $40 million lawsuit, because he wasn’t allowed to proceed anonymously. Spacey won the case against Rapp in October 2022.

  • In August 2022, Spacey and his companies, M. Profitt Productions and Trigger Street Productions were ordered to pay MRC, the House of Cards production company, nearly $31 million for alleged sexual misconduct behind the scenes of the show. Eight employees of the Netflix show claimed they witnessed or were victims of sexual assault or predatory conduct by Spacey. Spacey was fired from the show in 2017, leading to millions in lost profits, producers said. The award to the production company was determined in 2020 through arbitration, but then it had been appealed. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge upheld the original award — plus additional legal fees.

  • In 2018, Spacey faced criminal charges of indecent assault and battery after being accused of groping an 18-year-old at a Nantucket bar two years earlier. After he appeared in court, the charges were ultimately dropped. The accuser also dropped a civil lawsuit.

  • Also in 2018, a California massage therapist, who accused Spacey of sexual assault, sued the star and pursued criminal charges against him. However, the unnamed accuser died in 2019, bringing an end to the cases.

What’s next for the actor who said his career hinged on a not guilty verdict?

Spacey hopes to return to acting. Just before the start of the U.K. trial, he said that a not guilty verdict — his last major pending case — would lead to him getting back to work in Hollywood.

“There are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London,” Spacey told Germany’s Zeit magazine in June. “The second that happens, they’re ready to move forward.”

He said he’s “still processing” the many allegations against him and he didn’t feel “ready to talk about it yet.” Spacey did say, “Everything happens for a reason. And even if that reason doesn’t display itself instantly or things don’t get resolved instantly, it will eventually all make sense.”

Spacey also said he has been writing scripts and short films — but nothing related to the accusations. (“I’m not trying to even the score,” Spacey said. “I have no interest in fighting something that’s not worth fighting against.”) He said he feels like he’s “back at the beginning of my career when nobody wanted me. Just because I was being benched for a while, I’m not going to stop working. I don’t want to get rusty. I’m ready.”

In addition to making the 2022 film The Man Who Drew God in Italy, he has a thriller Peter Five Eight out in August. He also had a voice role in Control, which has no scheduled U.S. release date.

Gene Fallaize, who directed Control, told the same publication that Spacey “has a ridiculously supportive fan base. They want to see Kevin acting. Nobody stops listening to Michael Jackson.”

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