A judge has denied the request of former “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey that he be allowed to skip his upcoming arraignment on a charge of felony sexual assault, stemming from allegations that he put his hand down the pants of a then 18-year-old male and fondled his genitals in a bar in Nantucket, Mass. back in 2016.
As TMZ reports, the lawyer for the two-time Oscar winner had requested that he be permitted to skip the arraignment, stating in a declaration that Spacey’s presence in court would “amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with the case.”
The declaration also adds that Spacey lives out of state, which would necessitate significant travel to enter the plea in person; Spacey, 59, was recently confirmed to be living in his Baltimore-area mansion.
In addition, Spacey’s lawyer also contends that having the actor appear in court would spark “prejudicial media interest” in the case, which could serve to contaminate the jury pool.
However, a report in The Hollywood Reporter states that the judge has denied the request, ruling that Spacey must appear in person at the arraignment, scheduled to take place on Jan. 7, 2019. Spacey is expected to plead not guilty to the felony charge of indecent assault and battery.
On Sunday, Spacey was spotted wearing a baseball cap reading “Retired Since 2017,” pulling up in a car outside his waterfront Baltimore mansion and handing a pizza to Daily Mail photographers who had been on a stakeout outside his home
“I know you’re just doing your job,” Spacey told the reporters. “Keep warm and have a happy New Year.”
According to the complaint, the alleged victim — the son of Boston TV news anchor Heather Unruh — claims that he “tried to shift away with his body… but Spacey kept reaching down his pants,” with the alleged assault occurring over approximately three minutes.
In audio of the subsequent hearing obtained byThe Boston Globe, Spacey’s lawyer claimed that Unruh had been extremely intoxicated during the alleged encounter, and implied that Unruh did nothing to discourage the alleged groping by pointing out that three minutes is “an incredibly long time to have a strange man’s hands in your pants.”
Spacey made worldwide headlines on Christmas Eve when he released a bizarre video, appearing in character as “House of Cards” politician Frank Underwood, apparently responding to the charges.