Three of Kevin Spacey ‘s accusers are liars, his lawyer told jurors on July 20 at the actor’s sexual assault trial.
Spacey was an easy mark for men who hopped on a “bandwagon” and fabricated stories in hopes of a payout, attorney Patrick Gibbs said.
“A man who is promiscuous, not publicly out ... who wants to be just a normal guy,” Gibbs said in describing his famous client. “It’s a life that makes you an easy target when the internet turns against you and you’re tried by social media.”
Spacey, 63, has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including multiple counts of indecent assault.
The jury of nine men and three women is due to begin deliberating on Monday in Southwark Crown Court.
The acts alleged between 2001 and 2013 range from unwanted touching to aggressive grabbing. Spacey was artistic director at the Old Vic Theatre in London during most of that period.
Gibbs said the prosecution case was based on fictions and fantasies.
Contrary to the prosecution’s claim that Spacey exploited his celebrity status to take advantage of and silence his alleged victims, Gibbs suggested it was his client, seated near a jailer in the dock, who suffered from a power imbalance and was forced to disprove the lies against him.
“With each allegation that’s discredited, the possibility, the reality that false allegations, even apparently convincing false allegations, not always, but sometimes, really do happen — especially where fame, money, sex, secrets, shame and sexual confusion are all in the mix,” Gibbs said.
Prosecutor Christine Agnew said in her final argument that it was no coincidence that three of the men, who didn’t know each other, had accused Spacey of aggressively grabbing them, which she called his “trademark” move.
But Gibbs said that the pattern that had emerged during the trial was of the defence disproving or casting doubt on the accusers.
Gibbs focused on the allegations by a man who said Spacey subjected him to unwanted touching for years until a day he was driving the star to Elton John’s gala ball in 2004 or 2005 when the actor grabbed him so forcefully that he nearly swerved off the road.
Photos showed Spacey only attended the party in 2001 and that was supported by surprise testimony from John and his husband, appearing in the London court by video from Monaco.
“To their everlasting credit, Sir Elton John and David Furnish stood up and were counted in defence of a man who has been universally cancelled ... risking the wrath of the internet,” Gibbs said. “You need to look no further than that for bravery.”
Spacey teared up and dabbed at his eyes with a tissue.
Gibbs said the prosecution tried unsuccessfully to suggest the incident happened in different years or during a different trip to the singer’s house, though John and Furnish said Spacey had only visited once.
The alleged victim on cross-examination said that he may have gotten the year wrong, but he was adamant the incident happened because it took his breath away and he avoided Spacey afterwards.
Spacey testified that allegations that he made racially insensitive remarks to another man at a theatre among others were “pure fantasy”.
Testimony from the director, producer and company manager who were present at the time suggested Spacey would have had little or no opportunity to assault the man as he described, Gibbs said. Those witnesses also challenged the man’s account that Spacey looked like he’d been up all night and smelled of alcohol.
“Did it occur to you then that for all his charm that you might have a fantasist before you?” Gibbs asked jurors. “You might ask, ‘How could none of it have happened?’ ... The better question is, ’How can any of what (the witness) said have happened?’”
Gibbs said that an aspiring actor who said he went to Spacey’s apartment for mentorship, and awoke the next morning to find the actor violating him, was yet another liar.
Phone records showed he continued to communicate with Spacey after the night in question — despite his insistence that he hadn’t. His credibility was further called into question by his efforts to keep police from viewing his phone data, and evidence that he deleted social media accounts and didn’t share messages sent to friends where he joked about possible encounters with Spacey.
“Telephone records do not lie, but people sometimes do,” Gibbs said.