Kevin Spacey, an actor known since the 1980s for various lead roles in a multitude of shows and films, has recently become infamous for something much less flattering: several accounts of sexual assault and predatory actions. However, it seems that as of Wednesday, July 17, charges made against him in a recent case have officially been dropped.
Three years ago, the Academy Award winner was accused of groping an 18-year-old busboy at a bar in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Spacey had allegedly bought him a number of alcoholic beverages to get him drunk. The boy refused to have his identity revealed, but his mother spoke out about the alleged sexual assault on several platforms and media appearances.
The accuser’s cell phone acted as the primary piece of incriminating evidence in this case, as the victim had sent his girlfriend and friends a series of text messages about the incident. However, upon investigation of the evidence as demanded by Spacey’s defense, it appeared likely that multiple key messages had been deleted. The recovered screenshots of conversations were declared incomplete. As a matter of fact, the entire phone went missing, and the accuser and his family stated they are not aware of its whereabouts.
Spacey’s accuser was questioned about his role in deleting messages off the phone. He approached the witness stand to insist that he had not deleted anything. However, after Spacey’s lawyer reminded the accuser that it is a felony under Massachusetts law to alter evidence, the victim invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
To “plead the Fifth” means to invoke the self-incrimination clause that enables witnesses to decline answering questions where answers may incriminate them. Essentially, the accuser realized that the likely alteration of the evidence contained in his phone would get him into deep legal trouble.
As a result, the judge was prompted to dismiss the case as a result of the “unavailability of the witness”.
An additional sexual harassment accusation forced Spacey’s acting career to come to an abrupt halt. Actor Anthony Rapp expressed that Spacey had made a sexual advance towards him when he was only 14 years old. Although Spacey claimed he did not remember the incident from 1986, he issued a public apology for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior”. As a result, Netflix suspended production of “House of Cards”, a show on which Spacey had a primary role, and severed ties with the actor.