Kevin Spacey has been found not guilty of committing sexual offences against four men in the UK between 2001 and 2013.
The 64-year-old Oscar winner cried as he was cleared after a trial which started at the end of June, during which he was described as a “sexual bully” by the prosecution.
On his birthday, he nodded at jurors as they left court, crying and wiping his face with a tissue, before letting out a big sigh and thanking court staff.
Sky News understands he left the building via a side exit, avoiding the media waiting for him outside.
“There was a rush to judgment and before the first question was asked or answered I lost my job, I lost my reputation, I lost everything in a matter of days,” he told jurors.
Spacey, who was artistic director at The Old Vic theatre in London between 2004 and 2015, was accused of drugging and performing a sex act on a former aspiring actor while he slept, and of several assaults on another man – a driver who claimed the actor grabbed his crotch so hard on one occasion that he “almost come off the road”.
Another man claimed the Hollywood actor subjected him to a “barrage” of “vile” sexual abuse before grabbing his crotch “like a cobra” at a West End event, while the fourth said the Hollywood star kissed his neck and told him to “be cool”, again before grabbing his crotch.
Spacey, best known for films including American Beauty and The Usual Suspects and for political drama series House Of Cards, vehemently denied all the allegations.
A jury at Southwark Crown Court in London has now cleared him of all the charges.
Denying the separate allegations by each of the men, Spacey told the court:
- He shared an “intimate” consensual moment with a former aspiring actor who claimed the star drugged him and performed a sex act on him while he was asleep in his flat;
- He had a “somewhat intimate” relationship with another complainant, but denied assaulting him in a “violent, aggressive, painful way” – and said it felt like he had been stabbed in the back when he learned of the claims;
- That allegations by a man he met in a West End theatre in the mid-2000s were “madness” and the incident described “never happened”;
- That he may have “made a pass” at another complainant but was “happy that he testified that the moment he told me he was not interested, I stopped”.
His defence team had labelled the prosecution’s case against him as “weak” – accusing some of the complainants of being after money.
The actor told the court he was a “flirt” and had been “open” about times he had been “promiscuous”, adding: “It doesn’t make me a bad person.”
He later told jurors he found it “harder to trust people because of who I was”, due to his fame and status.
The actor also said he felt under pressure to come out publicly as gay after allegations of sexual misconduct were first levelled at him.