Early this week, a Massachusetts judge announced that the case brought against Kevin Spacey for allegedly groping a young man in 2016 might be dismissed following the plaintiff’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment. This man will remain unnamed, as he is an alleged survivor of sexual assault. The accuser, who was 18 years old when he and Spacey first met, plead the Fifth after testifying that he did not delete any evidence from a cell phone that has become increasingly significant to the case.
Spacey has maintained his not guilty plea since criminal charges of indecent assault and battery were first brought against him in relation to his 2016 encounter with the accuser. He did not attend a hearing on Monday but if convicted, the 59 year old actor could face up to five years in prison.
The accuser’s cell phone was central to a pretrial hearing in Massachusetts. According to the prosecution, the former busboy used his cell phone to send his girlfriend several messages and a video during his encounter with Spacey. Prosecution attorneys said they gathered data from the phone, which they subsequently shared with the defense, before returning the device to the accuser’s family. Since this initial exchange, Spacey’s attorneys have requested to handle the device themselves with the hope that it might contain exculpatory evidence that could exonerate the actor. The defense made further accusations that such evidence could have been deleted before it was handed over to police and prosecutors. Alan Jackson, one of Spacey’s lawyers, told the judge that the accuser and his mother must have “deleted things off the phone….they sanitized the phone.”
To complicate matters, when the defense requested to examine the device, the accuser’s family failed to produce the cell phone. According to them, they do not know where it is. The prosecution had until July 8 to turn the phone over to the defense. Given their failure to do so, the accuser and his family appeared in court on Monday to provide testimonies on its location.
While the accuser testified that he did not delete anything from the phone, he later invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination after consulting with his lawyers.
Although the accuser had the right to exercise his Fifth Amendment right, Judge Thomas Barrett has said that his testimony will be stricken from evidence. He then said that the criminal charges against Spacey could be dismissed, but that this decision would not be made immediately. In light of this, Jackson has made the argument that “this case needs to be dismissed, and it needs to be dismissed today.”
This development follows last week’s decision to drop a civil lawsuit that was filed against Spacey in June. On Monday, family lawyer Mitchel Garabedian said that the civil lawsuit was dropped due to its “emotional aspect.” According to him, the accuser “only wanted one roller coaster at a time.”