Massachusetts prosecutors on Wednesday dropped a criminal case against actor Kevin Spacey, a week after a man who accused him of assault pleaded the fifth on the witness stand.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said the decision was made “due to the unavailability of the complaining witness,” according to a court filing.
Spacey, 59, had faced criminal charges of indecent assault and battery in connection with a July 2016 incident where he was accused of groping a young man in a bar. The former “House of Cards” star had pleaded not guilty and faced up to five years in prison if convicted.
The alleged victim, who CNN is not naming, exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a July 8 pre-trial hearing focused on the disappearance of the victim’s cell phone and questions about whether he had deleted text messages before turning the phone over to authorities.
“My client and his family have shown an enormous amount of courage under difficult circumstances,” said attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represented the young man.
One of Hollywood’s most famous and recognizable actors, Spacey’s career collapsed in November 2017 following several allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
Actor Anthony Rapp, in an interview with BuzzFeed, accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him in 1986 when he was 14 years old and Spacey was 26.
Netflix fired Spacey days later, following a CNN report where several current and former members of the “House of Cards” production staff came forward with allegations of sexual harassment. One former production assistant told CNN that Spacey sexually assaulted him during one of the show’s early seasons.
The criminal charge against Spacey stemmed from an incident at the Club Car, a restaurant and bar on Nantucket. According to the criminal complaint, an 18-year-old busboy at Club Car told Spacey that he was 23 and befriended the actor.
The busboy told police Spacey bought him a number of alcoholic drinks, bragged to him about the size of his penis, and tried to get him to go back to the actor’s house afterward, the complaint said.
Later, as the two stood near the piano player in the bar, Spacey reached over and began to rub the busboy’s thigh, the complaint states. Spacey then unzipped the accuser’s pants and rubbed his penis, both in and out of his pants, for about three minutes, he told police.
After several minutes, Spacey got up to go to the bathroom and the 18-year-old left the bar and went home, the complaint said.
By Jean Casarez and Eric Levenson, CNN