Spacey’s lawyer grills Anthony Rapp at sex misconduct trial

Oct 11, 2022, 11:35 AM | Updated: Oct 12, 2022, 7:47 am
Actor Kevin Spacey leaves court following proceedings in a civil trial, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Ne...

Actor Kevin Spacey leaves court following proceedings in a civil trial, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in New York, accusing him of sexually abusing a 14-year-old in the 1980s when he was 26. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for Kevin Spacey sought Tuesday to poke holes in the story of fellow actor Anthony Rapp, who says Spacey made a sexual advance on him when he was a teenager.

During an aggressive cross-examination at a civil trial in Manhattan, defense attorney Jennifer Keller zeroed in on inconsistencies between Rapp’s account of how he first met Spacey in 1986 and that of an older friend who was there.

Rapp said he was 14 when Spacey invited him and the friend to a nightclub after meeting them backstage at a Broadway play starring Spacey. He testified they went home without incident immediately after the nightclub outing.

However, the friend — who was in his late teens at the time — has said in a deposition that the pair actually went to Spacey’s apartment and described Spacey trying to lure the friend into a sexual encounter.

Considering the friend’s deposition, “You knew you had a problem with your story, correct?” Keller asked.

“I don’t dispute his story. I just don’t remember it,” Rapp said.

According to Rapp, it was days later when he went to Spacey’s apartment for the first time for a party. He has testified that after the other guests left, Spacey forced himself on him by pinning him to a bed — an allegation Spacey denies.

Earlier in the day, under questioning by his own lawyer that began last week, Rapp told the jury he had confided in a classmate after his encounter with Spacey. He said he told the friend that he watching TV in a bedroom when Spacey “came in drunk, picked me up as a groom does a bride, and he climbed on top of me trying to get with me sexually and I managed to squirm away.”

Rapp acknowledged on cross-examination that Spacey never tried to touch his genitals, take off his clothes or say anything about sex. He also said that as an openly gay actor struggling to get bigger parts, he was frustrated that Spacey spent most of his more successful career in the closet.

The cross-examination came during the second week of a trial stemming from the accusation Rapp first made publicly in 2017 before suing Spacey. It was among similar claims that largely shut down Spacey’s career with allegations of inappropriate touching or sexual advances.

At the time, Spacey was starring in Netflix’s political thriller “House of Cards.” Spacey, 63, is also well known for his role in the 1999 film “American Beauty,” which won him an Academy Award.

As a teenager, the 50-year-old Rapp acted in films including “Adventures in Babysitting.” He was later part of the original Broadway cast of “Rent” and is now a regular on “Star Trek: Discovery” on television.

During the direct examination, Rapp recalled that when he was still in high school, he once went to see a movie starring Spacey and realized how much he was traumatized. He said he felt like he’d been “stuck with a cattle prod. Like I jumped out of my seat. Adrenaline. Sweaty palms.”

In 1999, Rapp had a chance encounter with Spacey in a restroom at the Tony Awards, he added.

“As I was washing my hands, Kevin Spacey walked through the door,” he said. “I looked at him and he looked at me. That was startling. … I wanted very much to get away.”

Rapp’s lawyer — responding to defense suggestions that Rapp was obsessed with Spacey — asked him, “Have you ever had a crush on Kevin Spacey?”

“No, I have not,” he responded.

Rapp is to resume testifying Wednesday. The Associated Press does not usually name people alleging sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Rapp has done.

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Spacey’s lawyer grills Anthony Rapp at sex misconduct trial