Kevin Spacey’s lawyers enter not guilty plea in sex assault case

Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at district court on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Nantucket, Mass., to be arraigned on a charge of ind
Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at district court on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Nantucket, Mass., to be arraigned on a charge of indecent assault and battery. The Oscar-winning actor is accused of groping the teenage son of a former Boston TV anchor in 2016 in the crowded bar at the Club Car in Nantucket. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Lawyers for Kevin Spacey have entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in a Massachusetts court on charges he groped an 18-year-old in 2016.

The actor faced a charge of indecent assault and battery during a hearing at Nantucket District Court and the judge set another hearing for March 4.

Spacey does not have to appear, the judge ruled, but he needs to be available by phone.

He must stay away from his accuser and his accuser’s family, the judge also ordered.

Spacey’s lawyer Alan Jackson said there is data that is “likely exculpatory” for Spacey.

The actor and his lawyers declined to comment as they left the courthouse amid a crush of reporters.

Kevin Spacey departs from district court in Nantucket, Massachusetts
Kevin Spacey departs from district court in Nantucket, Massachusetts (Steven Senne/AP)

The hearing comes more than a year after a former Boston TV anchor accused the former House Of Cards star of sexually assaulting her son, then 18, in the crowded bar at the Club Car, where the teenager worked.

Mr Jackson has sought to poke holes in the case, noting that the teenager did not immediately report the allegations.

If convicted, Spacey faces as many as five years in prison.

Media trucks lined the street before dawn, and locals on the island, which teems with tourists in the summer but quietens down in the winter, drove by slowly to take photos of reporters standing in line in the cold.

When the doors opened, more than two dozen journalists packed the courtroom hours before Spacey was scheduled to appear.

Members of the media outside the Nantucket Town & County Building, awaiting arrival of actor Kevin Space
Members of the media outside the Nantucket Town & County Building (Steven Senne/AP)

It is the first criminal case brought against Spacey since other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in 2017.

A judge denied Spacey’s bid to avoid appearing in person on Monday.

Spacey had argued his presence would “amplify the negative publicity already generated” by the case.

Television anchor Heather Unruh told reporters in November 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and then grabbed his genitals during the alleged incident.

She claimed her son fled the restaurant when Spacey went to the toilet.

After the charge was announced last month, Spacey released a video in the voice of Frank Underwood, his character on Netflix’s House Of Cards, in which he said: “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.”

It was unclear whether he was referring to the charge.

Spacey has also faced other allegations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Mr Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.

Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologised if the allegations were true.

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