NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Kevin Spacey made an unusual appearance Monday at a Massachusetts courthouse where his attorney asked for a swift trial in the groping case against the actor, saying Spacey is “suffering” as he awaits a chance to clear his name.
Attorney Alan Jackson called the case alleging the former “House of Cards” star groped a young man in a Nantucket bar in 2016 “ridiculous” and accused prosecutors of withholding information from the defense. Jackson pushed for a trial date for this summer, but the judge said the earliest it could happen is in the fall.
“He is suffering every day that this goes on,” said Jackson, who occasionally placed his hand on Spacey’s shoulder throughout the hearing at the Nantucket District Court. “That’s a day he is not getting justice.”
Meanwhile, prosecutors accused Spacey’s legal team of attempting to spin the case in its favor in the media by filing motions demanding information it already had or was going to get. Prosecutors said the defense was merely looking to give the press “something to gnaw on.”
“It seems providing the media with the defendant’s version was the true intent,” First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny wrote in a brief filed Monday.
Spacey, who wore a gray suit and glasses, sat at a table alongside his lawyers. He occasionally whispered in Jackson’s ear but didn’t speak during the hearing or respond to questions from reporters as he walked in or out of the courthouse.
Spacey was not required to attend the hearing and has stayed away from the courthouse except for his arraignment in January, which he also tried to avoid.
The 59-year-old actor, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault and battery, faces up to 2½ years behind bars if convicted.
It’s the only criminal case that has been brought against the two-time Oscar winner since his career fell apart amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations in 2017.
The case came to light that year when former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh said Spacey got her son drunk and then sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a popular restaurant and bar on the island off Cape Cod.
Unruh’s son told police he wanted to get a picture with Spacey and went over to talk to him after his shift ended at the Club Car, where he worked as a busboy. The man said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man’s pants and groping him for about three minutes.
The teenage accuser told police that he tried to move Spacey’s hands, but that the groping continued, and he didn’t know what to do because he didn’t want to get in trouble for drinking. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people alleging sexual assault.
Spacey’s attorneys have stepped up their attacks on the credibility of the man who brought the allegations. In motions filed Friday, Jackson accused the man of deleting text messages that support Spacey’s claims of innocence.
The accuser’s attorney declined to comment Friday.
Prosecutors deny that they withheld anything from the defense or falsely claimed they weren’t in possession of the man’s cellphone. Prosecutors say they had already agreed to provide the defense a copy of the information they downloaded from the accuser’s phone, but Spacey’s attorneys say that’s not enough.
They want the phone itself so they can do their own analysis and try to recover messages they claim were deleted. They also want access to messages on Unruh’s phone.
Jackson said Monday that Unruh told authorities she removed anything concerning her son’s “frat boy activities” from his phone before handing it over in 2017. Jackson says it appears the accuser deleted certain messages between him and his then-girlfriend from his phone before sending screenshots of conversations to an officer investigating the case.
“There’s clearly information on that phone that (the accuser) and Heather Unruh do not want us to know,” Jackson said.
Judge Thomas Barrett said he would issue a ruling on the defense’s requests at a later date. Another hearing was set for July 8.
The judge had previously ordered the Club Car to hand over any surveillance footage from the night the man says the groping took place. Its owners said Monday that no such footage exists.