It has been just under five years since Kevin Spacey’s Oscar-winning career was upended by a slew of sexual misconduct accusations, starting when Anthony Rapp accused him of making an unwanted sexual advance in 1986.
Both actors are now facing off in Manhattan federal court for a trial in Rapp’s $40 million civil lawsuit over the incident, which allegedly occurred when he was 14.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan and lawyers for both sides on Thursday selected a jury of 12 people. All jurors denied personally knowing Spacey or Rapp, or having read or heard anything about the case that would prevent them from reaching a fair verdict.
“You may have heard of one or the other of them,” Kaplan told prospective jurors before screening them for possible bias. “You may have seen them doing what they do for a living.”
Spacey, 63, has denied Rapp’s accusations and other sexual misconduct charges.
“We look forward to a trial by jury with actual evidence rather than trial by social media,” Spacey lawyer Jennifer Keller said on Wednesday.
Rapp, who starred in the Broadway musical “Rent,” alleged in a November 2020 lawsuit that Spacey forcibly touched him during a party at Spacey’s New York home. He said he left after the brief encounter.
Rapp, 50, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Spacey won Oscars for best actor in “American Beauty” and best supporting actor in “The Usual Suspects,” but his career largely ended after more than 20 men accused him of sexual misconduct.
Netflix dropped him from its political drama “House of Cards”, and Christopher Plummer replaced him in the role of J. Paul Getty in “All the Money in the World” just a few weeks before the movie’s scheduled release.
Spacey faces a criminal trial in London next year after pleading not guilty to five sex offense charges over alleged assaults between 2005 and 2013.
He was charged with indecent assault in Massachusetts in 2018 over allegations he sexually abused an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket bar in 2016, but prosecutors later dropped the charges after the alleged victim refused to testify.