Aaron Chown/PA Wire
UPDATED 5.09 a.m. PT: The jury has been sworn in for the trial of Kevin Spacey, with a judge telling the 14 “do not use your computers for anything to do with this trial.
The American Beauty star, who is accused of sex offences against four men, stared intently at the nine men and three women jurors as they made their way to their seats. Two reserve jurors were also selected to sit through the opening of the prosecution.
Mr Justice Wall told the jury panel of 14 that the case is one which has “quite obviously” attracted a lot of media attention but that they “must avoid this coverage where you can.”
He warned them against using computers to search “anything to do with this trial.”
Prior to the jury selection, Wall told prospective jurors: “I am sure the defendant will be gratified to know that many of you will know his name or have seen his films.”
EARLIER: In the past few minutes, Kevin Spacey has arrived at UK Crown Court to face a month-long trial after being accused of sex offences against four men.
In a trial that will decide whether the Oscar-winning American Beauty star still has a future in the film and TV world, Spacey denies 12 charges including sexual assault and indecent assault.
He arrived this morning in a taxi wearing a pink tie and a navy suit, taking a moment to smile, wave and say ‘Good morning’ to people assembled outside court before making his way into the building.
The trial at Southwark Crown Court will last four weeks and, as yet, it is unknown whether Spacey wil take the stand in his own defense. Having been charged earlier this year, he appeared briefly via videolink to confirm his name in April but is expected to be in Southwark for the duration of his trial. He is on unconditional bail.
In an initial court hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in June, Spacey’s lawyer, Patrick Gibbs QC, said his client “strenuously denies any and all criminality in this case”. Speaking to ZEITmagazin earlier this month, Spacey said “there are people right now who are ready to hire me the moment I am cleared of these charges in London.”
Spacey pleaded not guilty in January to three counts of indecent assault, three counts of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. The two-time Academy Award winner also previously denied four further charges of sexual assault and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
The 63-year-old, whose real name is Kevin Spacey Fowler and who has also starred in House of Cards, The Usual Suspects and Se7en, will hear about allegations from between 2001 and 2013. He was also Artistic Director at The Old Vic theatre in London between 2004 and 2015. The Old Vic investigated, having received 20 allegations of inappropriate behavior against the star and a subsequent report said there had been a “cult of personality” around him.
Spacey is becoming used to facing high-profile trials that attract mounds of media attention. Last year, he won a $40M civil case in New York after a much-covered sexual misconduct trial brought by Star Trek: Discovery star Anthony Rapp. Rapp had accused Spacey of sexually abusing him at a party when he was 14 and Spacey was 26 but a jury deliberated for a little more than an hour before deciding that Rapp hadn’t proven his allegations.
Spacey has an address in Waterloo, South London, but also lives in the U.S., where he has family and a dog. His lawyer, Gibbs, has said he returned to the UK “to establish his innocence” and “proceed with his life”.
The trial is expected to end towards the end of next month.