What to Know About Kevin Spacey’s Civil Trial: Lawyers Make Opening Statements

What to Know About Kevin Spacey's Civil Trial: Lawyers Make Opening Statements

Mr. Rapp then saw Mr. Spacey enter the bedroom and realized the other guests had left, his lawyer said. Mr. Spacey picked Mr. Rapp up in his arms, Mr. Saghir said, describing the position like a groom carrying a bride over the threshold. According to Mr. Rapp’s account, Mr. Spacey appeared drunk and laid down on top of him, pressing his pelvis into the side of Mr. Rapp’s hip.

“I recall being frozen and shocked and upset and scared,” Mr. Rapp said in an earlier deposition.

As Mr. Rapp left Mr. Spacey’s apartment, Mr. Saghir told the jury, the older actor leaned into the doorway and asked, “Are you sure you want to go?”

Mr. Rapp’s lawyers have argued that this account constitutes battery and that Mr. Rapp suffered severe emotional distress, including depression and anxiety. Battery is legally defined as “the unjustified touching of another person, without that person’s consent, with the intent to cause a bodily contact that a reasonably prudent person would find offensive.”

The plaintiff’s side is expected to tell the jury about accounts Mr. Rapp gave to others in the years after the alleged incident. In opening statements, Mr. Saghir also homed in on Mr. Spacey’s statement after the BuzzFeed article, noting that he did not strongly deny Mr. Rapp’s account until his lawsuit was filed.

A lawyer for Mr. Spacey, Jennifer L. Keller, described Mr. Spacey’s initial statement concerning the allegations as the product of a “panic” among his managers and advisers, who advised him to take a certain tone to avoid the “social media mob .”

Behind the scenes, Ms. Keller said in court, Mr. Spacey was saying he had no memory of what Mr. Rapp described. In court papers, Mr. Spacey’s lawyers said that he had flatly denied Mr. Rapp’s account, that he had recalled meeting Mr. Rapp on a few occasions but that those interactions were “peripheral and limited.”

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