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Sunday December 8th, 2019 6:41PM

Kevin Spacey appears at court for hearing in groping case

By The Associated Press
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NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Kevin Spacey made an unexpected appearance Monday at a Massachusetts courthouse where his attorney demanded access to the cellphone of the young man who has accused the actor of groping him at a bar on the resort island of Nantucket in 2016.

Spacey's attorney Alan Jackson called the case against Spacey "ridiculous" and accused prosecutors of withholding information from the defense. Jackson urged the judge to set a trial date as soon as possible, saying the former "House of Cards" star is "suffering" without a resolution to the case.

The judge said the earliest the trial will happen is the fall.

"This is a ridiculous case and (prosecutors) shouldn't have filed it," Jackson said.

First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny denied his office misrepresented anything to the defense.

Spacey, who was wearing a gray suit and glasses, sat at a table alongside his lawyers. He occasionally whispered in Jackson's ear but didn't speak during the hearing, or respond to questions from reporters as he walked in or out of the courthouse.

Spacey was not required to attend the hearing and has stayed away from the courthouse except for his arraignment in January, which he also tried to avoid.

The 59-year-old actor, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault and battery, faces up to 2 ½ years in jail if convicted.

Spacey's attorneys have stepped up their attacks on the credibility of the man who brought the allegations. In court documents filed Friday, Jackson accused the man of deleting text messages that support Spacey's claims of innocence.

It's the only criminal case that has been brought against the two-time Oscar winner since his career fell apart amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations in 2017.

The case first came to light that year when former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh said Spacey got her son drunk and then sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a popular restaurant and bar on the resort island off Cape Cod.

Unruh's son told police he wanted to get a picture with Spacey and went over to talk to him after his shift ended at the Club Car, where he worked as a busboy. The man said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man's pants and groping him for about three minutes.

The accuser told police he tried to move Spacey's hands, but the groping continued, and he didn't know what to do because he didn't want to get in trouble for drinking. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people alleging sexual assault.

Spacey's lawyers have called the allegations "patently false" and accused the man of lying in the hopes of making money in a civil case against Spacey. They argued the two engaged in nothing more than "consensual flirtation" and questioned why, according to the man's story, he did not object or try to move away if he was being assaulted.

Spacey's attorney urged the court in Friday's motion to order prosecutors to hand over a "complete and unaltered" forensic copy of the accuser's cellphone, saying newly produced evidence confirms he "deleted exculpatory text messages and provided falsified screenshots of his conversation from the night in question to law enforcement."

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