Actor Kevin Spacey is cleared of nine sex offenses in a London court
JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:
The Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey has been cleared of all charges of sexual offenses against him in a court in London. The jury delivered the verdict of not guilty on all nine charges relating to four men, dating back to over a decade ago. Outside the court, Kevin Spacey made this statement.
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KEVIN SPACEY: There's a lot for me to process after what has just happened today. But I would like to say that I'm enormously grateful to the jury for having taken the time to examine all of the evidence and all of the facts carefully before they reached their decision. And I am humbled by the outcome today.
SUMMERS: For more on the story, Willem Marx joins us from London. And Willem, if you could, just remind us - what were the charges? Who made these allegations against Kevin Spacey?
WILLEM MARX, BYLINE: Well, Juana, there were multiple charges that stemmed from allegation about the actor's behavior made by four separate men between 2001 and 2013. Spacey was first charged by the state prosecutors here in the U.K., known as the Crown Prosecution Service, back in May last year. That was on five counts involving three different men. In an initial hearing back in July last year, he pled not guilty. And then, after prosecutors lengthened the charge sheet, he appeared again in a London courtroom back in January of this year to once more plead not guilty against seven separate charges that included the fourth individual.
SUMMERS: You've been following this story. Tell us, how did the trial unfold?
MARX: Well, the trial was at Southwark Crown Court in southeast London, not far from the Old Vic Theatre, where he used to work. It lasted for four weeks. And during that time, the state prosecutor described Spacey as a, quote, "sexual bully who took advantage of his high profile and position." The actor continues to deny the allegations. He characterized them as, quote, "madness" and a, quote, "stab in the back from men who were financially motivated." The jurors ultimately seemed to accept Spacey's claim that some of the sexual encounters had been consensual, and others did not amount to a crime, but may have instead been what Spacey described in court one instance as being a, quote, "clumsy pass."
He described his friendship with several celebrities, including actors and musicians like Elton John. He was called as a defense witness. And remember, this started with 12 counts. A 13th was added midway through. The judge threw out four of those counts on a legal technicality. And today, he was found not guilty on the remaining nine counts.
SUMMERS: Just about 30 seconds left here. Can you tell us a bit more about Spacey's reaction to the court's decision?
MARX: It was his 64th birthday today. He was dressed in a dark suit. He cried in the courtroom's dock as the verdict was read out. He placed his hand on his chest, mouthed towards the jurors who had acquitted him the words, thank you, thank you. It took them more than 12 hours to come to their decision. And speaking outside, you heard that statement. He took no further questions. He left in a taxi, fans shouting, we love you, Kevin.
SUMMERS: Willem Marx reporting from London. Thank you.
MARX: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.