Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey walked into a London courtroom on Wednesday to stand trial on charges of sexually assaulting four men as long as 20 years ago.
The actor was dressed in a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and pink tie while being called by his full name and asked if he was Kevin Spacey Fowler.
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“That’s me,” he said, standing behind a window on the dock.
Spacey, 63, has pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges, including assault, indecent assault and solicitation of unauthorized sexual activity. He could face a prison sentence if convicted.
Spacey nodded and smiled at potential jurors as Judge Mark Wall told them they may know Spacey by name or have seen his films.
More than two dozen entered the courtroom, and the first 14 sat without objection from the prosecution or defense. Thirteen people were excused then.
Spacey stood with his hands clasped behind his back as nine men and five women, including two deputies, were sworn in as jurors to hear evidence in the case expected to last four weeks at Southwark Crown Court.
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“I do solemnly, sincerely and truly affirm that I will faithfully try the defendant and render true verdicts on the basis of the evidence,” the jurors claimed.
Opening statements are scheduled for Friday.
The actor, who is out on bail, arrived at court about two hours before the trial was due to start.
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Spacey has said an acquittal in the case could revive a career that has been largely on ice since allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against the star who won his first Academy Award for a supporting actor in “The Usual Suspects” in 1995 .
“There are people right now who are ready to hire me once I’m cleared of these charges in London,” Spacey said in a rare interview published this month in Germany’s Zeit magazine. He said the media had turned him into a “monster.”
The charges against men in their 30s and 40s date from 2001 to 2013 – most of the decade in which he lived in Britain and was Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theater until 2015.
Spacey’s demise came amid the .MeToo movement in the United States, when allegations led to him being written off the Netflix political thriller “House of Cards,” where he played main character Frank Underwood, a ruthless and corrupt congressman who runs for president. is becoming. He was cut from the finished film “All the Money in the World” and the scenes were reshot with Christopher Plummer.
Spacey became one of the most celebrated actors of his generation in the 1990s, starring in films such as ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ and ‘LA Confidential’. He won his second Oscar for Best Actor in the 1999 film American Beauty.
Spacey recently had his first movie roles in years, appearing in 2022 in Italian director Franco Nero’s “The Man Who Drew God” and playing the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman in the biopic “Once Upon a Time in Croatia.” He also stars in the unreleased American movie ‘Peter Five Eight’.
The Italian National Film Museum in Turin presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in January. He also gave a masterclass and introduced a sold-out screening of “American Beauty” in what were billed as Spacey’s first speaking engagements in five years.
Spacey praised the organizers for “strongly championing artistic achievement” and for having “le palle” — the Italian word for male body parts synonymous with courage — to invite him.
Associated Press writer Jill Lawless contributed to this report.