Kevin Spacey’s long-awaited criminal trial in the UK over multiple sexual assault allegations has begun.
The trial — due to last four weeks — started on Wednesday morning UK time at London’s central Southwark Crown Court, with the first day mostly dedicated to getting the legal logistics in order. Spacey arrived around 9 am, wearing a dark blue suit, white blue shirt and pink tie.
Later in the morning, judge Mark Wall swore in a jury of 12 (actually 14, with two people serving as spares). The case was then adjourned until Friday morning.
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Spacey, 63, faces 12 charges from four different men, all dating between 2001 and 2013 and including seven counts of sexual assault, three counts of indecent assault, one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. All of the charges were read out in detail in front of Spacey, sat in the dock, and the jury.
Many of the allegations relate to the period when he was the artistic director of the Old Vic theater, a position he held between 2004 and 2015. He has denied them all — five charges at a hearing in London’s Old Bailey in July 2022, when the trial date was set, and a further seven in a video hearing in January 2023.
In his opening remarks to the jury, Wall acknowledged the amount of press interest the case had drawn but urged jurors to avoid media coverage where they could.
The trial is the first in the UK faced by the two-time Oscar winner since accusations of sexual assault first broke in 2017 and could decide whether or not he has any future in the entertainment industry. It also marks almost 12 months to the day since Spacey first took the stand at Westminster Crown Court on June 16, 2022 to have the initial five allegations read out to him. It was there where his defense counsel Patrick Gibbs KC successfully argued that the actor should have unconditional bail, allowing him to move freely in and out of the UK (the prosecutor had pushed for him to have his passport taken away, stressing that given the severity of the sentence were he to be found guilty, it was “reasonably foreseeable that he would not return to the UK”).
Spacey’s career nosedived following the surfacing of the initial allegations almost six years ago in the wake of the MeToo movement. Following high-profile removals from both Netflix’s House of Cards and Ridley Scott’s All The Money in the World (where he was replaced as J. Paul Getty by Christopher Plummer in very costly reshoots), his roles have been few and far between, the projects he has been cast in lurking towards the lower end of the market. He shot the comedic thriller Peter Five Eight, recently picked up by SPI International and due for release in August, after the trial is expected to finish, while last year it was announced that he wouldn’t — as had been previously announced — star in the Hungarian-backed Genghis Khan drama 1242 – Gateway to the West.
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Spacey could face a prison sentence if found guilty.
Earlier this month, speaking to the German ZEIT magazine, he said he anticipated working again almost immediately were he to be found not guilty in the UK trial. “I know that there are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London,” Spacey said. “The second that happens, they’re ready to move forward.”