High-Stakes Trial For Kevin Spacey Begins in the U.K.

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Kevin Spacey arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London on June 28 for his criminal trial, charged with 12 counts of sexually assaulting four men COURTESY OF DAN KITWOOD/GETTY IMAGES

The long-awaited criminal trial over multiple sexual assault allegations could decide whether Kevin Spacey has a future in the entertainment industry.

LONDON – Kevin Spacey, renowned actor and two-time Oscar winner, has finally faced the start of his highly anticipated criminal trial in the U.K. The trial, expected to last four weeks, commenced at London’s central Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday morning. The initial day primarily focused on legal formalities, with Spacey donning a dark blue suit, white blue shirt, and pink tie as he arrived at the courthouse at 9 a.m.

During the morning session, Judge Mark Wall swore in a jury of 12 individuals, with two serving as spares. However, the case was adjourned until Friday morning. Spacey, now 63, faces 12 charges brought forward by four different men. These charges span from 2001 to 2013 and include seven counts of sexual assault, three counts of indecent assault, one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. The charges were meticulously read aloud in front of Spacey, who was seated in the dock, along with the jury.

Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at the Manhattan Federal Court for his civil sex abuse case in New York, U.S., October 18, 2022. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

A significant portion of the allegations stems from Spacey’s tenure as the artistic director of the Old Vic theater from 2004 to 2015. Despite the gravity of the charges, Spacey has vehemently denied all allegations. He denied five charges during a hearing at London’s Old Bailey in July 2022 when the trial date was established. Subsequently, he denied seven additional charges during a video hearing in January 2023.

In his opening statements to the jury, Judge Wall acknowledged the immense media attention surrounding the case and urged the jurors to avoid media coverage as much as possible to ensure an impartial trial.

This trial marks Spacey’s first legal challenge in the U.K. since the initial allegations of sexual assault emerged in 2017. The verdict will have a profound impact on his future within the entertainment industry. Additionally, it coincides with the one-year anniversary of Spacey’s appearance at Westminster Crown Court on June 16, 2022, where he first heard the five allegations against him. At that time, his defense counsel, Patrick Gibbs KC, successfully argued for unconditional bail, allowing Spacey to freely travel in and out of the U.K. (despite the prosecution’s request to confiscate his passport, citing the potential severity of the sentence if found guilty).

Actor Kevin Spacey walks outside the Southwark Crown Court as his trial over charges related to allegations of sex offences begins, in London, Britain, June 28, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A detailed overview of the trial proceedings, charges, and potential consequences for Kevin Spacey.

Following the surfacing of the initial allegations nearly six years ago amidst the #MeToo movement, Spacey’s career took a nosedive. He was swiftly removed from popular projects like Netflix’s House of Cards and Ridley Scott’s All The Money in the World, the latter involving costly reshoots to replace Spacey with Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty.

Since then, his roles have been sparse, mainly consisting of low-budget projects. However, Spacey recently completed filming the comedic thriller Peter Five Eight, set to release in August after the trial concludes. In 2022, it was announced that he would no longer star in the Hungarian-backed Genghis Khan drama 1242 – Gateway to the West, despite previous plans.

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If found guilty, Spacey could face a prison sentence. However, he remains optimistic about his prospects if acquitted. In a recent interview with German ZEITmagazin, Spacey expressed confidence in finding work immediately after being cleared of charges in the U.K. trial. – The Hollywood Reporter