Actor Kevin Spacey has been found not liable in a civil trial that claimed he sexually abused a 14-year-old boy in the 1980s.
The Hollywood star had been sued in a civil case by stage and screen actor Anthony Rapp over an alleged incident in 1986 after a party in Spacey’s New York apartment.
Rapp, now 50, had been 14 at the time and Spacey was 26. Spacey had “categorically denied” the allegations.
Rapp’s lawyer, Richard Steigman, had urged jurors to make Spacey pay for trying to molest his client. He accused Spacey of lying on the witness stand.
But Jennifer Keller, a lawyer for Spacey, told jurors Star Trek: Discovery star Rapp made up the encounter and said they should reject his claims.
Rapp had told the court Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed and pressed his groin into Rapp’s hip until he was able to wriggle free.
Spacey denied the allegation on the stand – and said he had never been alone with Rapp.
Ms Keller advanced several theories during the trial as to why Rapp might have lied, including a desire for attention or jealousy of Spacey’s acting success.
“Mr Rapp is getting more attention in this trial than he has in his entire acting life,” she had said.
Both actors testified over several days at the three-week trial. The lawsuit sought $40m in damages.
The verdict in the Manhattan federal court brings to a conclusion a trial that grew out of the #MeToo movement.