An emotional Kevin Spacey has said he is ‘humbled’ after being dramatically cleared of sexually assaulting four men following a star-studded trial where Sir Elton John gave evidence in his defence.
The American double Oscar winner, who marks his 64th birthday today, was overcome with emotion when the jury at Southwark Crown Court in London returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.
The star was accused of abusing his fame and power to carry out nine sex attacks on four men during his tenure as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre. But Spacey insisted the claims were ‘madness’ and accused the claimants of ‘lying for money’.
Speaking on the steps of the court after the verdicts were delivered, Spacey thanked the jury, his legal team and his loyal manager and longtime friend, Evan Lowenstein, for standing by him.
He said: ‘I imagine that many of you can understand that 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. I also want to thank the staff inside this courthouse, the security, Evan Lowenstein, and all those who took care of us every single day, my legal team… for being here every day.’
The allegations not only shredded what had been a glittering showbiz career but also had major financial implications, with the star told to pay £25.5million to the producers of House of Cards after he was sacked.
He has also been landed with at least £1million in defence fees and suffered the humiliation of being edited out of the Sir Ridley Scott film All The Money In The World. Earlier in the trial Spacey told the jury: ‘I’ve lost everything’.
The verdict raises the prospect that Spacey could soon return to our screens after being shunned by Hollywood for the last six years.
Speaking on the steps of the court after the verdicts were delivered, Kevin Spacey thanked the jury, his legal team and his loyal manager and longtime friend, Evan Lowenstein
Kevin Spacey leaves Southwark Crown Court today after being cleared of all charges in his sex assault case
A court sketch showing Spacey dabbing his eyes after the not guilty verdicts came through
Following the not guilty verdicts, Spacey placed his hand on his chest, looked at the jury and mouthed ‘thank you’ twice before they left the room.
Angered by the celebrations in the public gallery, Mr Justice Wall said: ‘The members of the public gallery will stop reacting, or I will throw you out.’
He then commended the jurors, saying: ‘Every case I have to do has its own difficulties. In your case this pressure came from the fact that this was a case attracting significant attention and you were like fish in a goldfish bowl.’
Mr Justice Wall said Spacey was free to leave the dock, and after the jury had left the room, the star embraced his legal team and wiped tears from his eyes.
As perhaps the most high profile victim of the Me Too Movement, Spacey had described how his ‘world exploded’ and he ‘lost everything in a matter of days’ in 2017 after being accused of making sexual advances to American actor Anthony Rapp when he was just 14.
The allegation, which Spacey was later cleared of, led to an avalanche of claims from at least 30 men in America and Britain.
A review at the Old Vic identified alleged inappropriate behaviour towards 20 men, but Spacey was never convicted of any criminal offence.
After a five-year Scotland Yard investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service charged the House of Cards star with a series of sex attacks on four men between 2001 and 2013.
But Spacey maintained his accusers were motivated by ‘money, money and then money’, with one accuser filing a claim for £500,000 in compensation.
The jury of nine men and three women took 12 hours and 26 minutes to announce its verdict.
Three alleged indecent assaults and four sexual assaults were dated between 2001 and 2004. The five further offences that were alleged against him range from between 2005 to 2013.
Throughout the trial Spacey was sure of his innocence, repeatedly denying all the charges against him.
Spacey was sacked from House Of Cards and then suffered the humiliation of being edited out of the Sir Ridley Scott film All The Money In The World
Spacey poses with his award for Best Supporting Actor in The Usual Suspects
Spacey with his manager and longtime friend Evan Lowenstein (left), who he thanked today in a statement outside court
As allegations piled up and his acting roles came to a halt, the hit to Spacey financially was equally devastating.
His defence costs for the UK trial alone were put at more than £1m, a figure dwarfed by US legal fees.
Even worse, two years ago an arbitrator ruled his alleged sexual misconduct amounted to a breach of contract and he was told to pay £25.5 million to the producers of House of Cards – a production from which he was sacked.
Spacey lost an appeal to overturn the ruling last year, though whether or not he has handed over the cash remains unclear.
When the court asked Spacey about his financial situation, he answered: ‘I have got no money coming in and I have had a lot of legal bills… and I have not paid it all off and I still owe money.’
The House of Cards star – pictured today – broke down in the dock as the jury returned their verdicts
Despite being found innocent, Spacey now faces an uphill battle to rebuild a career that was all but ended by the claims against him
The actor sold his Los Angeles mansion for £8.5million shortly before the scandal broke.
He still owns a £2.5million penthouse flat in an exclusive London tower block overlooking the Houses of Parliament – where he stayed during the court case.
As for the Old Vic, a London theatre that Spacey headed for 11 years – it is unknown whether the star will be reinstated.
Before the controversy broke Spacey had an assistant, an agent, a publicist, a manager, a personal trainer and a bodyguard.
In the wake of the scandal, his publicist, Staci Wolfe, quit working for him, as did his agents at CAA. Only Mr Lowenstein, appointed as his manager in 2016, remains.