Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty, and his attorneys want key texts to be preserved

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 1/8/2019, 1:14 p.m.
Actor Kevin Spacey appeared at a Nantucket courthouse and a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf, in ...
Actor Kevin Spacey appeared at a Nantucket courthouse and a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf, in connection with accusations that he allegedly groped an 18-year-old busboy at a bar on the island.

By Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper, CNN

(CNN) -- Actor Kevin Spacey appeared at a Nantucket courthouse and a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf, in connection with accusations that he allegedly groped an 18-year-old busboy at a bar on the island.

Spacey, the 59-year-old Hollywood actor, was arraigned on a charge of indecent assault and battery, a felony charge that comes with up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors asked that he stay away from the alleged victim and his family, and the court agreed. Defense attorneys asked the court to preserve cell phone data and other text messages from the victim from the date of the incident until six months afterward, which defense attorneys said would be "likely exculpatory" for Spacey.

The next court appearance is scheduled for March 4. The judge agreed to waive Spacey's right to appear at that hearing at the downtown Nantucket courthouse, but he must be reachable by phone.

The charge stems from an incident in July 2016 at the Club Car, a restaurant and bar on Nantucket. According to the criminal complaint, an 18-year-old busboy at Club Car told Spacey that he was 23 and befriended the actor, known for his roles in the film "The Usual Suspects" and the Netflix series "House of Cards."

The busboy's shift ended at midnight, after which he changed his clothes and began talking to Spacey. According to the complaint, the busboy told police Spacey bought him a number of alcoholic drinks, bragged to him about the size of his penis, and tried to get him to go back to the actor's house afterward.

Later, as the two stood near the piano player in the bar, Spacey reached over and began to rub the busboy's thigh, the complaint states. Spacey then unzipped the accuser's pants and rubbed his penis, both in and out of his pants, for about three minutes, he told police.

The busboy filmed a short part of the alleged groping on Snapchat and sent the video to his girlfriend, the complaint states. In his interview with police, investigators showed the busboy that video and confirmed his and Spacey's clothing that night.

After several minutes, Spacey got up to go to the bathroom and the 18-year-old left the bar and went home, the complaint states.

Last week, Spacey's attorneys had asked that he be allowed to waive his right to be physically present at Monday's arraignment, saying he lived out-of-state and believed his presence would "amplify the negative publicity already generated" in the case.

However, Judge Thomas Barrett denied that request. And on Monday, satellite trucks and dozens of media members arrived on the island to see the actor face the felony charge in court.

Defense previews its strategy

Spacey's arraignment comes more than a year after the busboy's mother went public with the allegations against Spacey. Heather Unruh, a former TV news anchor in New England, held a press conference in November 2017 saying her son had been sexually assaulted by Spacey.