US prosecutors has dropped a sexual assault case against actor Kevin Spacey, citing the complainant’s decision to maintain his silence on text messages related to the case.
An unnamed 21-year-old man had accused Spacey of forcibly groping him in a Massachusetts bar three years ago, leading to the actor facing court for alleged sexual assault.
The Boston Herald reports that Judge Thomas Barrett ordered the accuser to hand over a phone which Spacey’s attorney Alan Jackson said may contain exculpatory text messages.
The accuser and two of his family members testified that the phone was missing, and the man told the court he did not delete texts between himself and Spacey.
However, when Alan Jackson reminded the accuser that deleting text messages would amount to evidence tampering – which is a crime itself – the man invoked his rights under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution to avoid potentially incriminating himself.
Jackson to urged Barrett to toss the case, arguing the lack of evidence meant “the entire case is completely compromised.” The accuser maintained his decision not to testify on the matter.
Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe has now sided with Spacey’s defence, issuing a statement nullifying the trial due to “the unavailability of the complaining witness.”
O’Keefe argued that as the sole witness in the case, the accuser’s decision not to testify damaged his credibility, meaning the prosecution couldn’t effectively move the case forward.
In his own statement, the accuser’s attorney Mitchell Garabedian said “my client and his family have shown an enormous amount of courage under difficult circumstances.”
Despite facing numerous accusations of sexual misconduct, the Massachusetts trial was the only criminal court case against Spacey to go ahead.
However, Spacey was interviewed by British investigators earlier this month regarding allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated in the UK, amid a raft of serious complaints received by London’s Old Vic Theatre.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault, you can call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for access to 24/7 support.