Less than 60 minutes after closing arguments were completed today, the federal jury in Kevin Spacey’s sexual abuse trial found him not liable for battery allegations by actor Anthony Rapp. Rapp, who had sought $40 million in the suit received zero damages from the jury – a resounding victory for Spacey and his defense team.
Spacey’s defense team of Keller/Anderle attorneys Jennifer Keller, Chase Scolnick, and Jay Barron, had convincingly and precisely laid out the facts of the case over the course of the trial, which began October 6. Several victories by the defense team earlier in the trial paved the way for the final verdict. Judge Lewis Kaplan had dismissed Rapp’s claim of assault before the trial started and dismissed his claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress after Barron’s successful briefing and argument, leaving the jury to decide only the battery claim.
The K/A team dismantled Rapp’s witnesses’ and experts’ credibility throughout the trial. Scolnick’s cross-examination of Rapp’s psychologist undermined her testimony and exposed her opinions as unbelievable. Additionally, in Keller’s closing argument on Thursday, she struck a chord with the jury as she began her closing argument. Keller, a nationally prominent trial attorney, addressed the relationship of the MeToo movement to the case, stating that Rapp “hitched his wagon” to the movement when he came forward. “This isn’t a team sport where you’re either on the MeToo side, or you’re on the other side,” Keller told the jury. “This is a very different place. Our system requires evidence, proof, objective support for accusations provided to an impartial jury. However polarized as society may be today, it really should not have a place here.”
Keller suggested that Rapp built his allegations against Spacey from a nearly identical scene from the Broadway show “Precious Sons,” which Rapp was performing in during 1986 at the time of the alleged incident. “We’re here because Mr. Rapp has falsely alleged abuse that never occurred at a party that was never held in a room that did not exist,” she said.
In her concluding remarks, Keller implored the jury “You’re here to be judges of the facts. Did it happen? It didn’t happen. One penny is too much for something that did not happen,” Keller said, concluding that no damages were merited.