Actor Kevin Spacey faces the first of a series of sexual abuse claims dating back decades on Thursday in New York in a trial that may come to overshadow a glittering career on stage and screen that included two Oscars and numerous other top awards.
The case against the 63-year-old American focuses on accusations by Anthony Rapp, a star of the Broadway musical Rent, who five years ago publicly accused Spacey of sexual assault when he was a teenager.
In the subsequent lawsuit now coming to trial, Rapp alleges that Spacey – whose real name is Kevin Spacey Fowler – acted to gratify his sexual desire during an encounter at a Manhattan party in 1986, when he was 14 and Spacey 26 or 27.
The trial will focus on Rapp’s claims against Spacey of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to court documents, but not claims of sexual assault, which were dismissed in June because they were brought too late.
Rapp is asking for $40m in punitive and compensatory damages and he brought the lawsuit in September 2020, passing through the same statute of limitations window in New York’s Child Victims Act that allowed Virginia Giuffre to bring a now-settled case against Britain’s Prince Andrew earlier this year.