Kevin Spacey asks to skip arraignment on sex assault charges

/ CBS News

Spacey accuser claims he has video, cops say

Actor Kevin Spacey has asked a Massachusetts judge to skip his arraignment in a Nantucket court next week on sexual assault charges. According to a court filing obtained by CBS News, Spacey also indicated he would plead not guilty. The Oscar winner is charged with felony indecent assault and battery in the 2016 incident at a Nantucket restaurant during which prosecutors say he groped an 18-year-old man.

Kevin Spacey poses at the premiere for the second season of the Netflix series "House of Cards" in Los Angeles, Feb. 13, 2014. Reuters

Spacey, 59, said in the court filing he wants to waive the appearance at the Jan. 7 hearing because he lives out of state and he believes that his "presence will amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case."

A lawyer for Spacey cited intense coverage from national and local print and television news outlets.

"The defendant's attendance at the arraignment will only serve to heighten prejudicial media interest in the case and will increase the risk of contamination of the pool of jurors available for the trial," wrote attorney Juliane Balliro.

Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael Giardino opposed the request, reports the Associated Press, writing that Spacey's appearance is required under state rules for criminal case procedure. A judge has not yet ruled. Spacey indicated in the court filing he would attend the hearing if the judge denies his request.

Spacey last week posted a video on Twitter of himself seemingly in character from "House of Cards." His character, Frank Underwood, was killed off after Spacey was fired amid multiple accusations of sexual harassment or assault.

"You wouldn't rush to judgment without facts, would you?" Spacey said in remarks that could be interpreted to apply to his TV character or himself. "Anyway, all this rush to judgment made for such an unsatisfying ending. To think it could have been such a memorable send-off."

Former Boston news anchor Heather Unruh came forward publicly in Nov. 2017 identifying her son as Spacey's accuser in the Nantucket case. A police report obtained by CBS News shows the alleged assault was reported on Oct. 31, 2016, long before the first sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey became public.

The police report said the accuser captured the alleged assault on a Snapchat video he sent to his girlfriend.

First published on December 31, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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