The Crown Prosecution Service in the UK may be weighing whether to bring sexual assault charges against Kevin Spacey in half a dozen cases. However, on this side of the Atlantic, the much-accused Oscar winner looks to have side stepped some very damning allegations and perhaps $40 million in damages.
A federal judge in New York today denied an anonymous accuser of the one-time House of Cards star his move to keep his identity private in the big bucks assault and battery suit filed last September with Star Trek Discovery star Anthony Rapp. While the pseudonym “C.D.” plaintiff in question has 10 days to refile the matter under his real name, the man’s lawyers have already told the court that their client feels he “is emotionally unable to proceed with the action and will discontinue his claims.”
Which would mean Spacey would see yet another legal action against him dissipate.
A seemingly deciding factor in Judge Lewis A Kaplan’s opinion on the matter is the fact that C.D. spoke to a number of people, including Rapp and members of the media, about his claims of Spacey sexually abusing him in the early 1980s, when the now 50+-years-old plaintiff was a minor.
“The evidence suggests that C.D. knowingly and repeatedly took the risk that any of these individuals at one point or another would reveal his true identity in a manner that would bring that identity to wide public attention, particularly given Spacey’s celebrity,” Judge Kaplan wrote in his 20-page memorandum opinion (read it here).
During the suit’s proceedings, which started out in New York State court last fall and was moved to federal court in November 2020, C.D. and his representatives have said that making his identity public would cause a “re-triggering” of the PTSD he suffered as a result of the attack by Spacey.
Analyzing the number of individuals that C.D. has already spoken directly to about the alleged matter and apparently suffered no resurgence of his PTSD, a sympathetic but unconvinced Judge Kaplan expresses doubt that the unsealing of his real name at this point could do so – and he suggests a rather hard reality would kick in regardless as the case and trial progressed.
“As media coverage of the al1egations against Spacey grows, as would be very likely as this litigation proceeds and a trial approaches or takes place, it is only common sense to say that the risk of disclosure would grow,” he writes “He makes serious charges and, as a result, has put his credibility in issue,” Judge Kaplan also says of C.D., his desire for anonymity and potential prejudice against Spacey.
It is also of note that Spacey and his Keller/Anderle LLP attorneys are aware who C.D. really is. As the docket shows, they have previously agreed to a targeted court issued protective order to keep many of C.D.s details still sealed.
That was not a compromise C.D. was prepared to make, which brought the situation to today.
“Though C.D. is correct that the public generally has an interest in protecting those who make sexual assault allegations so that they are not deterred from vindicating their rights,70 it does not follow that the public has an interest in maintaining the anonymity of every person who alleges sexual assault or other misconduct of a highly personal nature,” the Bill Clinton-appointed Judge Kaplan declared Monday. “For the foregoing reasons, C.D. has not shown that his privacy interest is sufficient to warrant allowing him to litigate his sexual assault allegations anonymously. Accordingly, on balance, the public interest does not weigh in favor of C.D.’s use of an (sic) pseudonym.”
Neither representatives for C.D. or Anthony Rapp responded to requests from Deadline on their reaction to today’s order.
In what was the first of many allegations against Spacey, Rapp went public in October 2017 with claims of being subject to unwelcomed sexual advances by the older and more established actor in 1986 in his NYC apartment. The Swimming with Sharks actor pushed back at lightening speed with an ill-considered statement that veered more towards his own coming out as a gay man than addressing Rapp’s claims, which Spacey said he had no memory of anyway.
Since Rapp’s allegations and the ones that followed, a career dead and disgraced Spacey has mainly been seen in court and in bizarre videos he periodically posts online, such as in Christmas 2020.
Of course, the ex-Old Vic artistic director could be looking at some serious legal issues in the UK soon. Last week Scotland Yard handed over its findings into a series of allegations against Spacey to state prosecutors. When and how the CPS act on the results of those probes is to be seen.