Sex assault charge dropped against actor Kevin Spacey

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

Prosecutors in Nantucket on Wednesday dropped a felony sexual assault charge against the actor Kevin Spacey, after watching their case against the actor slowly fall apart under scrutiny from Spacey's defense team during months of contentious pre-trial hearings that unfolded in the resort island's lone courtroom.

The decision to drop the charges followed a meeting between the accuser, his parents and prosecutors on Sunday, July 14, following a July 8 hearing in which the alleged victim exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a hearing in which he was testifying about his missing cell phone.

"The complaining witness was informed that if he chose to continue to invoke his Fifth Amendment right, the case would not be able to go forward," Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said in a statement released on Wednesday. "After a further period of reflection privately with his lawyer, the complaining witness elected not to waive his right under the Fifth Amendment."

But the criminal case against Spacey appeared to be plagued nearly from the start by one stunning revelation after another about missteps by the case investigators, the prosecutors and the alleged victim's relatives and civil attorney.

In October, 2017, the young man contactedthe Cape and Islands District Attorney's office to allege that 15 months earlier Spacey had plied him with beer and whiskey in July 2016 after meeting the two met at the Club Car bar and restaurant in Nantucket, where the young man had worked that summer as a busboy, and sexually assaulted him.

Kevin Spacey stands in district court as his attorney Alan Jackson, right, addresses the judge during an arraignment hearing, Jan. 7, 2019, in Nantucket, Mass.

The alleged victim admitted to authorities from the start that he lied to Spacey about his age, saying he was a 23-year-old college student attending Wake Forest University, when in fact he was an 18-year-old busboy working at the restaurant where he met the actor and sought an autograph for his girlfriend.

The alleged victim told investigators that while Spacey was touching him, he was texting and communicating with his girlfriend and other friends on Snapchat and sent his girlfriend a Snapchat video of Spacey groping him, according to the criminal complaint. He alleged the inappropriate touching of his genitals continued for about three minutes, according to the complaint. Those texts and videos have been a key focus of heated, pre-trial courtroom debates during previous hearings in the case.

In January, authorities charged Spacey with a single felony count of indecent assault and battery.

But over the course of months of pre-trial hearings, it emerged that the mother of Spacey's accuser had deleted potentially exculpatory data from her son's cell phone before turning it over to police, and that the lead investigator in the case did not file a report stating the mother's voluntary admission until just last month in June, 2019, more than three years after the alleged encounter.

When Spacey's defense team learned of these developments last month, they sought from the judge in the case and were granted direct access to the accuser's phone.

Defense attorneys, who compared the results of the state's forensic examination of the phone with screenshots of the group chat conversation from that night that the accuser had initially texted to investigators, concluded that key parts of those conversations had been deleted before the phone was turned over to investigators.

A civil attorney for the accuser then informed the court that the phone had apparently been irretrievably lost and even questioned whether police returned the device to the family at all after the government completed its forensic exam of the contents of the phone.