UPDATE 7/18/2019: Prosecutors announced on Wednesday, July 17, that they were dropping the case against Spacey. Prosecutors blamed Spacey's accuser's refusal to testify about his cellphone, which has gone missing. Spacey's legal team maintained that phone contained crucial evidence that would prove the actor's innocence. Our original story about the criminal case starting to fall apart is below:
It was a new twist in a case that is becoming stranger by the day. The now 21-year-old man accusing Kevin Spacey of sexual assault filed a civil lawsuit in late June against the actor.
But a little more than a week later, the accuser and his lawyer dropped the civil case. The man’s attorney declined to comment, only to note that they voluntarily ended the suit. The development whipped up new speculation about what would occur in the case. Spacey is facing charges of indecent assault and battery for his alleged forcible groping of the man when he was an 18-year-old waiter at a restaurant in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Lawsuit’s Ending Precedes Wild Day in Criminal Court
The fireworks did not stop with the dropping of the lawsuit. On Monday in Massachusetts criminal court, the accuser invoked his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination after he acknowledged that he did not provide all of the text messages he sent to his then-girlfriend and friends during the alleged assault to police.
In later testimony, the accuser’s mother admitted to deleting some texts and pictures of the phone. She said she deleted some embarrassing photos of her son and text messages to protect him, but that she did not delete anything relevant to the case.
Spacey’s defense team continues to hammer on the fact that the cellphone remains missing. They have yet to examine the phone, and contend that there could be exonerating information on it.
Also on Monday, a Massachusetts State Police trooper testified that he turned the phone back over to the family after the investigation, but that he did not have them sign a receipt. The accuser’s father continues to assert that he has no memory of receiving the phone from police.
Judge Hints Case Could End Soon
After the accuser invoked his fifth amendment rights and struck his testimony from the record, Spacey’s attorney asked the judge to immediately dismiss the case. The judge acknowledged that the case is no longer in good shape without the accuser’s testimony.
“The case revolves around this individual, and without him the Commonwealth will have a tough row to hoe,” he said. Spacey’s attorney said he would file a motion to dismiss the case later this month.
A Suffolk University law professor agrees, noting that if Spacey’s team were to get access to the phone, they could use it to make the accuser “look foolish” in court.
Even if the case is ultimately dismissed, Spacey’s troubles are far from over – and not limited to U.S. courts. London Metropolitan Police acknowledged earlier this month that detectives traveled to the U.S. in May to question Spacey over multiple allegations of sexual assault.