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After 12 hours and 26 minutes of deliberations, a London jury has returned a verdict of “not guilty” in the sexual-assault trial of Kevin Spacey.
The 64-year-old American actor was cleared of nine charges of sexual and indecent assault, including one count of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity,” which carries a potential life sentence.
During the five-week trial, the jury of nine men and three women heard from three men who each accused the Hollywood star of “aggressive” crotch grabs, while a fourth claimed the defendant drugged him and performed oral sex on him while he was asleep at his flat.
They also heard from Spacey himself, who testified in his own defense that his accusers were either lying or misremembering sexual encounters that he deemed were consensual. Spacey claimed that the sexual encounters with two of his accusers were consensual, a third was a “clumsy pass” for which he later attempted to apologize; a fourth he denied ever happened.
The allegations date from 2001 to 2013 when Spacey was an artistic director of the Old Vic Theater.
The famed London theater, which has faced criticism for its handling of complaints of inappropriate behavior against Spacey, later blamed a “cult of personality” around the Hollywood star for intimidating actors and former staff at the Old Vic theater from coming forward.
Last week, during her closing statement to the court, Christine Agnew KC, barrister for the prosecution, told the jury the case was “about power and taking advantage of that power.”
Judge Mark Wall sent out the jury of nine men and three women to deliberate its verdicts at 12:45 p.m. on Monday afternoon, London time. Their verdict was announced on Wednesday.
A two-time Academy Award winner, Spacey joins movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on the list of major Hollywood power players convicted of sexual assault since the advent of the #MeToo era in late 2017.