Prosecutor says Kevin Spacey used celebrity status for 'opportunity grab' described by accusers

The two-time Oscar winner long had benefited from a "trinity of protection," knowing that men he attacked would not complain.
Hollywood celebrity Kevin Spacey (File photo | AP)
Hollywood celebrity Kevin Spacey (File photo | AP)

LONDON: It was more than a coincidence that three of Kevin Spacey's four accusers described similar crotch-grabbing incidents, a prosecutor said Wednesday in her closing argument at his sexual assault trial.

Prosecutor Christine Agnew told a London jury that Spacey seized brief moments for an "opportunity grab" and was able to get away with it for years because he was a celebrity.

The two-time Oscar winner long had benefited from a "trinity of protection," knowing that men he attacked would not complain. If they did, he knew they wouldn't be believed; if they were believed, he knew authorities wouldn't take action because of his status, Agnew said.

That began to change after allegations in the U.S. arose in 2017 during the height of the #MeToo movement when a fellow American actor accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior decades earlier. Other allegations followed and eventually led the four men, who did not know each other, to independently complain to the English police.

"Are they all motivated by 'money, money, money' as you were told rather dramatically by the defendant?" Agnew said in quoting a snippet of Spacey's testimony. "Or have they all just had enough of the secret of the truth that they have been carrying around for many years? They're no longer prepared to be the secret keeper of someone who treated them so badly."

Spacey, 63, has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including multiple counts of sexual and indecent assault and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. Originally he had faced 13 charges but the judge on Wednesday removed four counts that duplicated the same allegations under an older statute.

The actor testified over two days and denied sexually assaulting three men. He said he had consensual encounters with two and downplayed crotch-grabbing allegations by a third man as a "clumsy pass." He said allegations he made racially insensitive remarks to a fourth man and violently grabbed his private parts like a striking cobra were "pure fantasy."

The acts alleged between 2001 and 2013 escalated from unwanted touching to aggressive crotch-grabbing and, in one instance, performing an oral sex act on an unconscious man.

The defense has cast doubt on the accounts of the accusers and suggested they were motivated by money. Two of the men have filed lawsuits against Spacey and a third man reached out through Spacey's website seeking to settle the criminal case.

Spacey presented photos one of the men had posted on social media of the two of them and a photo that man sent him from a mountain trek he took where he claimed to have read a Shakespeare soliloquy at Spacey's suggestion from atop a peak.

Other defense witnesses said Spacey would have had little or no opportunity to assault a man backstage at a charity event, as the alleged victim claimed.

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The New Indian Express