A man who alleged that Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted him has died before the case could go to trial.
The anonymous alleged victim claimed that the actor groped him while he was giving him a spa treatment in October 2016 at a house in Malibu, California.
Spacey, a two-time Academy Award winner known for numerous film and television roles, including in American Beauty and House of Cards, was charged with sexual battery, gender violence, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
The actor has denied all the allegations.
According to a filing made by Spacey’s lawyers at a California court, the alleged victim, referred to in the case as John Doe, is said to have died recently. No date was provided.
Genie Harrison, who represented the deceased, said the document announcing his client’s death was “undignified, insensitive and inappropriate”. She also accused Spacey’s lawyers of legal manoeuvring to get the case dismissed [via Evening Standard].
The man’s estate now has 90 days to get substituted into the lawsuit to continue it.
Harrison said in a statement: “Filing the notice yesterday was unnecessary and contemptible. I’m not surprised, however, that Spacey prematurely filed the notice in an attempt to gain the advantage of a ticking clock. Mr Doe’s family must now open his estate at the same time as planning a funeral and processing their grief.”
A lawsuit against Spacey related to the alleged sexual assault and the other charges was filed in September 2018.
The anonymous accuser, who chose to hide his identity for reasons of “personal embarrassment” and potential “harassment” claimed that Spacey forced him to touch his genitals before asking if he could perform oral sex on him.
The case, which was filed at Los Angeles Superior Court, has since been moved to a federal court. A pre-trial conference had been scheduled for May 2020.
Harrison described the alleged victim as a “dignified, kind, middle-aged man” who was left “traumatised” by the purported assault. “His fight for justice is still very much alive,” she said.
Spacey was removed from House Of Cards after allegations of sexual misconduct were levelled against him in November 2018. Actor Anthony Rapp first accused him of making sexual advances to him in 1986, with numerous other claims following.
In two separate statements, the House Of Cards star said he did not recall the incident with Rapp and, later, that he was “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.”
The 60-year-old has been investigated by the Metropolitan Police in relation to several sexual misconduct claims stemming from his time as artistic director at London’s Old Vic theatre.