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Complainant drops lawsuit against Kevin Spacey in ‘grope’ case

Experts say the move could have a bearing on the criminal case with the actor seeking access to a phone which he says could support his innocence.

Kevin Spacey (Matt Crossick/PA)
Kevin Spacey (Matt Crossick/PA)

A young man who says Kevin Spacey groped him in a Nantucket bar in 2016 has dropped his lawsuit against the Oscar-winning actor, his lawyer has said.

Spacey still faces a criminal charge and has pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery in January.

His accuser’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, announced in an email that the suit filed June 26 in Nantucket Superior Court has been voluntarily dismissed.

No reason was provided either by Mr Garabedian or in the court filing and the lawyer said he would have no further comment.

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Kevin Spacey attends a pretrial hearing at district court in Nantucket in June (Steven Senne/AP)

According to the court filing, the suit was dismissed “with prejudice”, which means it cannot be refiled.

It says “because no adverse party has served an answer or motion for summary judgment in this matter, plaintiff is dismissing the civil action”.

An email was left on Friday requesting comment from Alan Jackson, Spacey’s lawyer.

Mr Jackson has previously said the man is lying in the hopes of winning money in a civil case against Spacey.

The legal development could have significance for the criminal case against Spacey, said William Korman, a former prosecutor in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office who is now a criminal defence lawyer specialising in sexual assault cases.

When a civil suit is dropped so quickly, it is a possible indicator that a private settlement was reached and that the accuser may ultimately stop co-operating with prosecutors, he said.

“Any settlement could not be conditioned on a refusal to co-operate with the prosecution,” said Mr Korman.

“Nevertheless, money is a great motivator for an individual not to follow through.”

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File photo as Kevin Spacey arrives at district court in Nantucket (Steven Senne/AP)

He noted there are many other possible reasons why the accuser’s suit could have been dropped.

Mr Garabedian’s client alleged Spacey got him drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car restaurant where the then-18-year-old man worked as a busboy.

The criminal case has centred on the mobile phone used by the accuser the night of the alleged groping, which the defence says it needs in order to recover text messages it says will support Spacey’s innocence.

Nantucket District Court Judge Thomas Barrett has ordered the man to hand the phone over to the defence, but his lawyer said they cannot find it.

The judge has given them until Monday to produce the phone.

PA

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