LONDON – (AP) – Jurors to decide the fate of actor Kevin Spacey were sworn in a London court Wednesday after the Oscar winner is accused of sexually assaulting four men two decades ago.
The outcome of the trial could send Spacey to prison or revive his career.
The two-time Academy Award winner was dressed in a navy blue suit, light blue shirt and pink tie as he confidently entered the court and was called by his full name. He was asked if he was Kevin Spacey Fowler.
“I am,” he said, standing behind a window in the courtroom.
Spacey, 63, has pleaded not guilty A dozen charges including sexual assault, indecent assault and penetration of a person without consent into sexual activity.
“I am sure the defendant will be gratified to know that many of you may know his name or have seen his films,” Justice Mark Wall said as Spacey handed out notes to potential jurors standing between the dock and two dozen reporters. Taking it, he nodded and smiled. ,
The first 14 jurors, including two alternates called by name, sat without objection from either the prosecution or the defense. The remaining 13 were forgiven.
Jurors were dressed in business and casual attire. Two women wore dresses and two men wore suits and ties. One man was wearing a black denim jacket and a bearded man pulled a weathered Superman T-shirt across his midsection.
Spacey stood with his hands folded behind his back as nine men and five women were sworn in as jurors to hear evidence in the four-week case at Southwark Crown Court.
Opening statements are scheduled for Friday.
Spacey, who is out on bail and has homes in London and the US, arrived in court by taxi about two hours before the start of the trial, accompanied by his manager Evan Lowenstein. He smiled and waved as he passed by photographers and video reporters.
Spacey has said an acquittal in the case could accelerate his career after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against the star, who won his first Academy Award as a supporting actor in 1995’s “The Usual Suspects”. Since is largely on ice.
In a rare interview published this month in Germany’s Zeit magazine, Spacey said: “There are people right now in London ready to hire me if I get cleared of these charges.” He said the media has turned him into a “monster”. ,
The allegations against the men, now aged 30 or 40, date from 2001 to 2013 – covering most of the decade he lived in the UK and served as artistic director of the Old Vic Theater until 2015.
Spacey’s downfall came amid the #MeToo movement in the United States when he was accused of Netflix’s political thriller “House of Cards” has been called off. where he played the lead character, Frank Underwood, a ruthless and corrupt Congressman who becomes President. He was removed from the completed film “All the Money in the World” and re-shot scenes with Christopher Plummer.
Spacey became one of the best-known actors of his generation in the 1990s, starring in such films as “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “L.A. Confidential.” He won his second Oscar for Best Actor in the 1999 film “American Beauty”.
Spacey recently took on his first film role in many years, appearing in Italian director Franco Nero’s “The Man Who Drued God” in 2022 and playing the late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in the biopic “Once Upon a Time in Croatia”. . He also stars in the unreleased American film “Peter Five Eight”.
Italy’s National Cinema Museum in Turin gave it to him Lifetime Achievement Award in January, He also taught a masterclass and presented a sold-out screening of “American Beauty”, which was presented as Spacey’s first speaking engagement in five years.
Spacey saluted the organizers for “strongly defending artistic achievement” and for inviting “le palle” – the Italian word for male body parts that is synonymous with courage.
Associated Press writer Jill Lawless contributed to this report.
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