A tearful Kevin Spacey was found not guilty on Wednesday by a jury at a London court of committing historical sex offences against four men.
After more than 12 hours of deliberation, a jury acquitted the Oscar-winning US actor of nine charges, including sexual assault, causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, and causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity.
Spacey, who turned 64 on Wednesday, began to cry and mouthed “thank you” to the jury, before wiping away tears with a tissue.
After he was released from the dock, he shook hands with his lawyers before leaving the court via a side door.
During the four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, jurors were told by prosecutors that the actor had aggressively groped three of the men in incidents between 2004 and 2013 in Britain, when he was working at London’s Old Vic theatre.
The fourth said Spacey performed oral sex on him while he had passed out in the Hollywood star’s London apartment.
When he gave evidence, Spacey, who was tried under his full name Kevin Spacey Fowler, said the case against him was weak,and that the incidents, if they had occurred, were consensual.
He said he was promiscuous, a “big flirt” who had “casual, indiscriminate sexual encounters.”
While he might have made a clumsy pass at one of the men, he said he had never assaulted anyone and suggested that the accusers had come forward to make money.
Spacey told the court three of the four complainants had brought civil lawsuits against him, saying one had contacted him seeking a payment of more than 450,000 pounds ($577,400), and accepted tasking private investigators to look into at least three of the men.
His lawyer Patrick Gibbs said it was not a crime to like sex or have casual sex even if you were a famous person and that it was “not a crime to have sex with someone of the same sex, because it’s 2023 not 1823.”
The jurors also heard from singer Elton John and his husband David Furnish who gave evidence as part of Spacey’s defence.