Kevin Spacey Loses Bid to Skip Court Appearance for Sexual Assault Case

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Host Kevin Spacey speaks onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

A judge ruled Monday that former House of Cards star Kevin Spacey must appear in a Massachusetts court on accusations that he groped a young man in 2016.

The 59-year-old Oscar-winning actor had argued he should be excused from attending his January 7  at the Nantucket District Court because his presence would “amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case.” However, Judge Thomas Barrett denied Spacey’s request.

The actor has said he will plead not guilty to felony indecent assault and battery.

The allegations were first brought in November 2017, when former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh told reporters that Spacey groped her teenage son during a chance encounter in the crowded bar of a Nantucket restaurant.

An attorney for Spacey, Juliane Balliro, had argued that Spacey’s presence at his arraignment would only “heighten prejudicial media interest in the case” and increase the risk of contaminating the jury pool.

Los Angeles-based attorney Alan Jackson noted during a hearing that Unruh’s son did not report the allegations to police right way, lied about his age saying he was 23, and said he was so intoxicated he may have blacked out shortly after Spacey allegedly groped him, according to an audio recording of the hearing obtained by The Boston Globe.

Unruh told reporters that her son didn’t report the assault at the time because he was embarrassed and scared. Her family decided to come forward after others went public with allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey and other celebrities, she said.

The disgraced actor also faces investigations into various other sexual assault allegations in California and Britain.

In a bizarre video posted to YouTube last week, Spacey — playing his famed House of Cards character Frank Underwood — seemingly addressed the sexual assault allegations.

“I know what you want,” Spacey begins. “Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, too powerful. After all, we shared everything, you and I. I told you my deepest, darkest secrets.”

In the video, titled “Let Me Be Frank,” Spacey said fans of the hit Netflix program want to see him play Underwood once again.

“Despite all the poppycock, the animosity, the headlines, the impeachment without a trial. Despite everything, despite even my own death, I feel surprisingly good. And my confidence grows each day that soon enough, you will know the full truth,” Spacey said in the video’s final moments. “Wait a minute…now that I think of it…you never actually saw me die, did you? Conclusions can be so deceiving. Miss me?”

Despite the video, neither Spacey nor his lawyers have addressed the allegation publicly

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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