Kevin Spacey, the two-time Oscar-winning actor known for his movie and TV roles including “House of Cards,” was on Wednesday found not guilty by a jury in Britain of nine counts of sexual assault.
Almost six years after allegations of inappropriate behavior began to emerge against Mr. Spacey on both sides of the Atlantic, a jury at Southwark Crown Court in London took just over 12 hours to reach its decision.
As the verdicts were announced, Mr. Spacey, 64, stood in a transparent box in the middle of the courtroom, wearing a dark blue suit and looking unemotional as he faced the jury.
But when the final “not guilty” was read out, the actor, whose birthday falls on Wednesday, began to cry and sighed heavily with relief.
During the almost monthlong trial in London, the court heard from four men who said that Mr. Spacey assaulted them between 2001 and 2013. For most of that time, the actor was the artistic director of the Old Vic theater, a major London playhouse.
One complainant told the British police that Mr. Spacey touched him multiple times without his consent. The complainant described incidents included once in either 2004 or 2005 when he said the actor grabbed his genitals so hard that he almost veered off the road as they were heading to Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball.
During the trial, Mr. Spacey — who appeared under his full name, Kevin Spacey Fowler — said that the pair had a consensual “naughty relationship.” The actor added that he felt “crushed” by the complainant’s characterization of their encounters. Elton John, giving evidence for Mr. Spacey’s defense, said that Mr. Spacey only attended his ball once, in 2001, several years before the complainant said he was groped.
Another complainant said that he wrote to Mr. Spacey hoping that the actor would mentor him, and eventually went for a drink at Mr. Spacey’s London home. That complainant said that he fell asleep in the apartment, and later woke up to discover Mr. Spacey on his knees, performing oral sex on him. Mr. Spacey said during the trial that the pair had consensual oral sex, then the man “hurriedly left,” as if he regretted the encounter.
On Jul. 20, Patrick Gibbs, Mr. Spacey’s legal representative, claimed that three of the complainants were lying and only made their accusations in the hope of financial gain. Mr. Spacey’s promiscuous lifestyle made him “quite an easy target” for false allegations, Mr. Gibbs added.
The trial in London was the latest that Mr. Spacey has successfully defended. In 2022, a federal jury in Manhattan found Mr. Spacey not liable for battery after the actor Anthony Rapp filed a lawsuit accusing Mr. Spacey of climbing on top of him and making a sexual advance in 1986, when Mr. Rapp was 14.
But what Wednesday’s verdict will mean for Mr. Spacey’s career was not immediately clear. In June, Mr. Spacey said in an interview with Zeit Magazin, a German magazine, that he intended to return to acting after the trial. “I know that there are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges,” he said.