© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The 71st Annual Tony Awards – Arriving – NEW YORK, USA, November 6, 2017 – Actor Kevin Spacey.REUTERS/Eduardo Muñoz Alvarez
LONDON (Reuters) – Kevin Spacey “strongly” denied sex crime charges, his lawyer said on Thursday, as the Oscar-winning actor made his first appearance in a British court facing charges dating back nearly 20 years.
Spacey has been charged in the UK with five offences – four counts of sexual assault by touching and a more serious charge of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. Prosecutors said Spacey forced a man to perform oral sex.
Wearing glasses and a light blue suit, Spacey was greeted by a huge media presence at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where security guards were forced to weave between TV crews and cameramen.
Inside, he spoke only to confirm his name, Kevin Spacey Fowler, and his address in London when he appeared at the pier. During the brief hearing, Spacey showed little emotion.
“Mr Spacey vehemently denies any criminal conduct in this case,” defence lawyer Patrick Gibbs told the court. He said the actor responded to all allegations when questioned in the United States three years ago and cooperated fully with the investigation.
“If he wants to get on with his life, he has to answer these charges,” Gibbs said. “He has consistently denied the allegations of any criminal conduct. »
If convicted of sexual assault, he faces six months in prison or an unlimited fine, while other crimes carry up to life in prison.
Spacey, who prosecutors and judges initially called “Mr Fowler”, is due to appear at Southwark Crown Court in London on July 14.
He was released on unconditional bail and Gibbs said he needed to be able to leave the UK to work because his family was in the US, including his nine-year-old dog.
Police said the alleged attacks took place between March 2005 and April 2013, with four in the UK capital and one in Gloucestershire in western England. They involved a man now in his 40s and two men now in his 30s.
Spacey, once one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, has largely disappeared from public view since being accused of sexual misconduct five years ago.
The 62-year-old, who won Oscars for Best Actor in “American Beauty” and Best Supporting Actor in “The Usual Suspects,” has been cut from the “House of Cards” TV show and from the movie “All money” removed. The world’ after sexual misconduct allegations came to light.