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LONDON (AP) — Kevin Spacey charmed the jury in his sexual assault trial with humor, humility and emotion as he dropped names of fellow stars and tales from his once-celebrated profession whereas his lawyer known as his accusers liars and stated the Oscar winner was the actual sufferer.

Spacey was acquitted of sexual assault Wednesday after his star flip as a witness in his personal protection spared him a doable jail time period and gave him a shot at a profession comeback.

Tears rolled down Spacey’s cheeks as the ultimate “not responsible” verdict was learn. The actor regarded on the jury, positioned his hand over the lapel of his blue swimsuit and pink shirt, and mouthed “thanks.” It was his sixty fourth birthday.

“I think about that lots of you may perceive that there’s quite a bit for me to course of after what has simply occurred at the moment,” a humbled Spacey stated exterior Southwark Crown Courtroom after thanking a handful of jurors within the foyer. “I’m enormously grateful to the jury for having taken the time to look at all the proof and all the information fastidiously earlier than they reached their choice.”

Spacey’s wide-ranging testimony over two days culminated as he choked up talking of the six years he went with out work after intercourse abuse allegations surfaced in opposition to him in the course of the #MeToo motion within the U.S. in 2017.

“My world exploded,” Spacey testified. “There was a rush to judgment and earlier than the primary query was requested or answered, I misplaced my job, I misplaced my status, I misplaced all the things in a matter of days.”

Three males accused the Oscar winner of aggressively grabbing their crotches, describing him as “vile” and a “slippery, snaky” predator. A fourth, an aspiring actor, stated he awoke to the actor performing oral intercourse on him after falling asleep or passing out in Spacey’s London residence the place he had gone for profession recommendation and a beer.

Spacey stated he was a “huge flirt” who had consensual flings with males and whose solely misstep was touching a person’s groin whereas making a “clumsy cross.”

Protection lawyer Patrick Gibbs stated three of the lads have been liars and that incidents had been “reimagined with a sinister spin.” He accused them of hopping on a “bandwagon” of complaints within the hope of placing it wealthy. Two of the lads have sued Spacey.

Prosecutor Christine Agnew known as Spacey a “sexual bully” who preyed on youthful males. She stated he was shielded by a “trinity of safety” — he knew males have been unlikely to complain; they wouldn’t be believed in the event that they did complain; and in the event that they did complain, no motion could be taken as a result of he was highly effective.

Spacey had confronted 9 expenses, together with a number of counts of sexual assault and one depend of inflicting an individual to interact in penetrative sexual exercise with out consent.

Spacey had considered the London case as an opportunity for redemption, telling German journal Zeit final month that there have been “individuals proper now who’re prepared to rent me the second I’m cleared of those expenses in London.”

The decision happened 20 minutes after jurors stated they have been deadlocked and the choose instructed them they might attain verdicts with out unanimity — a provision allowed in English prison instances.

Justice Mark Wall instructed the panel of 9 males and three ladies that it might attain verdicts if no less than 10 of 12 jurors agreed. They deliberated almost 12.5 hours over three days in a trial that spanned almost a month.

Shortly earlier than reaching the deadlock, jurors had requested Wall to summarize the testimony of a person who stated the actor grabbed his crotch so forcefully whereas he was driving to a gala at Elton John’s that he virtually ran off the highway.

In a cameo look, the rock star and his husband, David Furnish, testified by video from Monaco and supplied a timeline that solid doubt on the driving force’s account. They stated Spacey didn’t attend the White Tie & Tiara Ball the 12 months the person stated, however had been a shock visitor three or 4 years earlier in 2001.

That was vital as a result of the person stated he had begun working with Spacey within the early 2000s and suffered from undesirable fondling for years. He stated the incident within the automotive was the ultimate straw and he averted the star afterwards.

The accusations dated from 2001 to 2013 and included a interval when Spacey — after successful Academy Awards for “The Regular Suspects” and “American Magnificence” — had returned to the theater. He served as inventive director of the Outdated Vic Theatre in London for many of that point.

The lads got here ahead after an American actor accused Spacey of sexual misconduct because the #MeToo motion heated up in 2017.

One of many males known as his encounter with Spacey “utterly traumatic and life-ruining.” One stated he sought solace by understanding and consuming extra. A number of stated they couldn’t bear to observe productions starring the actor.

With the arrogance of a seasoned performer, Spacey took his seat within the witness field in what needed to be the smallest stage of his profession — a laminated oak desk on the entrance of a brightly lit courtroom.

He spoke within the heat, wealthy, calming voice that the majority audiences would immediately acknowledge. When pressed by Agnew, he didn’t take the menacing, chilly tone of a few of his characters, however maintained his composure and confirmed solely flashes of indignation delivered with a flourish.

When requested about grabbing the genitals of a person backstage at a charity occasion, he snapped: “Absolute bollocks!”

As laughter rose within the gallery, Agnew retorted: “That’s precisely the place you probably did seize him, isn’t it?”

“Actually?” Spacey stated as he regarded up at Wall in disbelief.

He then denied the act and later dismissed the prosecution case as weak.

Jurors laughed and smiled at components of his testimony and Wall often needed to rein him in when irrelevant anecdotes strayed.

Spacey seemed like a daily man at instances, talking about how he appreciated to smoke marijuana however was incapable of rolling a joint and acknowledging that he sought intercourse throughout lonely durations, quipping “welcome to life.” He insisted that being promiscuous doesn’t make him a nasty individual.

At different moments, although, it was clear he was from a distinct stroll of life to the jurors. He talked about appearing in highschool with Val Kilmer, shopping for the most costly Mini Cooper ever at Elton John’s charity gala, and the way he taught Judi Dench to play desk tennis whereas filming “The Transport Information” and later purchased her a ping pong desk.

Gibbs stated Spacey was “monstered” on the web each evening and have become poisonous within the leisure business.

Spacey was booted from “Home of Playing cards” and his scenes in “All of the Cash within the World,” have been scrubbed and he was changed by Christopher Plummer. Except for some small tasks, he has barely labored as an actor in six years.

The court docket victory is his second since he beat a $40 million lawsuit final fall in New York introduced by “Star Trek: Discovery” actor Anthony Rapp.

Prosecutors in Massachusetts dropped expenses when the alleged sufferer all of the sudden refused to testify.

Los Angeles prosecutors declined to carry expenses after the demise of a therapeutic massage therapist who stated Spacey compelled him to the touch the actor’s genitals throughout a massage at Spacey’s house in Malibu in 2016.

Spacey stated that being out of labor had left him with payments he’s nonetheless paying.

An arbitrator in LA ordered Spacey to pay almost $31 million to the makers of “Home of Playing cards” for violating his contract by sexually harassing crew members.

Spacey can now resume his profession “with no stain on his character” stated Mark Stephens, a London media lawyer.

“These have been allegations made on the top of the #MeToo allegations in Hollywood, and out of an abundance of warning, primarily Kevin Spacey was canceled by Hollywood,” Stephens stated. “I believe he’ll be snapped up by Hollywood producers determined to get on and make new films.”


Related Press reporter Jill Lawless and Cristina Jaleru contributed to this report.

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