© Reuters. Kevin Spacey is cross examined during Anthony Rapp’s (R) civil sex abuse case against Spacey in this courtroom sketch from the trial in New York, U.S., October 18, 2022 as U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan presides. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
By Jack Queen
(Reuters) -A Manhattan jury began deliberating on Thursday in the sex abuse trial of actor Kevin Spacey, who was accused in a civil lawsuit of making an unwanted sexual advance on a 14-year-old in 1986.
Anthony Rapp, now 50, claimed the abuse took place in Spacey’s New York apartment when the actor was 26. Spacey denied the allegation on the stand and said he had never been alone with Rapp.
Rapp’s lawyer, Richard Steigman, urged jurors to discredit Spacey’s recollection of the events.
“It’s inconsistent. It’s not worthy of your belief,” Steigman said during closing arguments.
Spacey’s lawyer, Jennifer Keller, said during her closing arguments that Rapp fabricated his story because he wanted attention, among other possible motivations for lying.
“Mr. Rapp is getting more attention in this trial than he has in his entire acting life,” Keller said.
The trial in Manhattan federal court began on Oct. 6, just under five years after Spacey’s career was upended by sexual misconduct allegations in the early days of the #MeToo movement. He has denied any misconduct.
Keller urged jurors to ignore the sexual politics of the case.
“This isn’t a team sport where you’re either on the MeToo side or the other side,” Keller said.
Rapp sued Spacey for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress in November 2020.
During the trial, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan dismissed the emotional distress claim but allowed the rest of the lawsuit to proceed.
Spacey won Oscars for performances in “American Beauty” and “The Usual Suspects,” but his career largely ended after more than 20 men accused him of sexual misconduct.
Spacey faces a criminal trial in London next year after pleading not guilty to five sex offense charges over alleged assaults between 2005 and 2013.