26 July 2023

Hollywood star in the dock: How drama of Kevin Spacey trial unfolded

26 July 2023

Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey made an emotional and at times fiery appearance in the witness box in his sex offences trial.

The American Beauty and House Of Cards star cut an isolated figure in the dock at Southwark Crown Court for the entirety of his trial, with only a single security officer for company.

He entered court each day flanked by his business partner Evan Lowenstein, who sat next to journalists throughout proceedings, taking notes.

A packed public gallery, filled with British and American journalists, saw Spacey stare intently at prospective jurors on the first day as they were sworn in for a trial which produced some dramatic moments.

The Hollywood star appeared to be engaged with the evidence his accusers gave – both in their recorded police interviews and the live evidence.

The complainants were shielded from view by a giant screen placed around the witness box – blocking them from both the public gallery and the defendant himself.

At certain points, the actor gave the occasional shake of the head and the odd exasperated look when he disagreed with what the witnesses were saying – but spent the majority of the time listening intently to what was being said.

But the two-time Oscar winner’s demeanour came under a more intense spotlight as he himself faced questions from both his lawyer Patrick Gibbs KC and prosecutor Christine Agnew KC.

Spacey was forthcoming with a number of details about his personal life – including how he liked to “get high” but was unable to roll a joint himself.

He told jurors he could have “had sex all the time” when asked if he found it easier to pick up people because of his reputation, and labelled himself the “dumbest man in England” for still renting a phone.

The first of his two days in the witness box ended in tears as he told jurors his world “exploded” when allegations about sexual misconduct were published online in 2017.

Jurors saw the actor dab his eyes with a tissue and heard him sniffing as he gave evidence about his “lost reputation”.

But after what appeared to be an emotional first day in the witness box, Spacey returned in a much more defiant mood as he sought to dismiss the assertions made by the prosecution.

In one fiery exchange, the actor appeared to think about his response to a question over whether he assaulted a man at a West End theatre, before declaring the accusation to be “absolute bollocks”.

Following a few sniggers from the public gallery, Miss Agnew prompted a few louder laughs with the response: “Because that’s exactly where you did grab him, isn’t it?”

Spacey appeared taken aback by the prosecutor’s reply, before turning to the judge to ask: “Did he accuse me of grabbing his bollocks?”

Mr Justice Wall told the defendant to answer the question, with the exchange eventually ending with the actor saying: “I did not.”

But Spacey’s final actions in the trial were again emotional, as he sobbed in the dock while listening to the 10 character references given by family and friends from inside the theatre and film industry.

As jurors delivered their not guilty verdicts after more than 12 hours of deliberations, the actor was handed tissues by the court usher to wipe away the tears rolling down his cheeks.

The defendant placed his hand on his chest, looked at the jury panel and mouthed “thank you” twice before they left the room.

After trial judge Mr Justice Wall said he was free to leave the dock, and after jurors had left the room, Spacey embraced his legal team and wiped tears from his eyes.

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