Kevin Spacey acquitted by jury in London on sexual assault charges dating back to 2001

Britain Kevin Spacey Trial
Actor Kevin Spacey walks outside Southwark Crown Court in London, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. The Jury continues deliberations in the trial of Kevin Spacey. The Hollywood star, 63, denies nine charges including sexual assault, which are alleged to have been committed between 2001 and 2013. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

LONDON (AP) — A London jury acquitted Kevin Spacey on sexual assault charges on Wednesday after a four-week trial in which the actor said he was a “big flirt” who had consensual flings with men and whose only misstep was touching a man’s groin while making a “clumsy pass.”

Three men accused the Oscar winner of aggressively grabbing their crotches. A fourth, an aspiring actor seeking mentorship, said he awoke to the actor performing oral sex on him after going to Spacey’s London apartment for a beer and either falling asleep or passing out.

All the men said the contact was unwanted but Spacey testified that the young actor and another man had willingly participated in consensual acts. He said a third man’s allegation that he grabbed his privates like a striking “cobra” backstage at a theater was “pure fantasy.”

He said he didn’t remember a fourth incident at a small party at a home he rented in the country but accepted that he touched the groin of a man he had met at a pub during a night of heavy drinking. He said he had misread the man’s interest in him and said he had probably made an awkward pass.

Defense lawyer Patrick Gibbs said three of the men were liars and incidents had been “reimagined with a sinister spin.” He accused most of them of hopping on a “bandwagon” of complaints in the hope of striking it rich.