Judge rejects Kevin Spacey's plea to avoid court appearance as actor confirms he will plead not guilty to sexual assault

Harriet Alexander
Kevin Spacey is due to appear in court in Nantucket on January 7 - Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

A judge in Nantucket has ordered Kevin Spacey to appear in court next week for his arraignment on sexual assault charges, denying the two-time Oscar winner’s plea for him to be excused from what he described as a media circus.

Spacey said in court documents, filed on Monday, that will plead not guilty to indecent assault.

The 59-year-old actor is accused of groping an 18-year-old employee of the Club Car, a restaurant and bar on the island of Nantucket, in July 2016.

In the court documents, obtained by The Telegraph, he asked the judge that he be exempt from the January 7 arraignment, arguing that his presence would "amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with the case."

His lawyer added that his presence would heighten the "prejudicial media interest" in the case and contaminate the jury pool.

The judge swiftly denied Spacey's request, ordering that he attend the court proceedings.


Kevin Spacey, pictured during his time as director of the Old Vic theatre in London Credit: Clara Molden for The Telegraph

His lawyers have been trying for some time to avoid the spectacle of the two-time Oscar winner appearing in court.

On Thursday Michael Giardino, the Cape and Islands assistant district attorney, filed a motion saying that the prosecution did not agree to the defence’s request that Spacey be allowed to stay away.

The prosecution argued that Massachusetts state rules for criminal procedure require that a defendant appear at arraignment.

Lawyers for both sides agreed on the January 7 arraignment date during a December 20 hearing, at which Clerk-Magistrate Ryan Kearney found probable cause to charge Spacey.

This allegation was first made public by the accuser’s mother, former news anchor Heather Unruh, in November 2017.

Former Boston news anchor Heather Unruh speaks at a press conference in Boston November 8, 2017 during which she accused actor Kevin Spacey of allegedly sexually abusing her son in July 2016 

Her son told investigators in the autumn that he was the one who approached Spacey that summer night, wanting a photo, and proceeded to drink heavily with the House of Cards actor after finishing his shift before the alleged assault took place, some time after midnight, police reports in the case show.

Spacey’s lawyers on December 20 argued that there were “inconsistencies” in the accuser’s story, and claimed that he didn’t pull away from the actor for three minutes.

The accuser has admitted telling Spacey he was 23 – the legal age for drinking in the state is 21.

Spacey has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men — some of them teens at the time of the alleged incidents — but the Nantucket case is the first to result in criminal charges. It carries a possible five years in prison.