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Criminal charges against actor Kevin Spacey have been dropped in Nantucket trial

Why dropped charge doesn't exonerate Spacey
Dropped charge does not exonerate Kevin Spacey, expert says 02:22

Prosecutors in Massachusetts on Wednesday dropped the criminal charges against Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey. The actor had been facing a felony charge of indecent assault and battery in Nantucket. 

Nantucket District Court Clerk's office District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said in a court filing "the unavailability of the complaining witness" as their reason for dropping the lawsuit.  

The dismissal of the lawsuit concludes a whirlwind saga involving Spacey and the accuser. The original criminal complaint stemmed from a young man accusing Spacey of groping him at a bar in 2016 when he was 18-years-old. The accuser said Spacey allegedly bought him several alcoholic drinks, then groped him.

The actor had pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault and battery.

The strength of the case against the actor was called into question when the man invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during a July 8 court hearing. It wasn't immediately clear what the accuser's intentions were in invoking the Fifth Amendment, but much of the defense's strategy against the prosecution concerned the accuser's missing cellphone. 

The July 8 hearing had to be called because the accuser said he couldn't find a cellphone wanted by the defense. Spacey's lawyers say they needed the phone to try to recover texts they claim were deleted and would help Spacey's defense. Once the accuser invoked the Fifth Amendment, Spacey's Attorney Alan Jackson called for the case to be dismissed immediately if the accuser was indeed attempting not to incriminate himself. The prosecution asked for a week to determine next steps.

The development in the criminal case less than two weeks after the accuser dropped the lawsuit he filed against Spacey. The victim's lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said in court that the case has been an "emotional roller coaster" for his client. 

No reason was provided either by Garabedian or in the court filing. Garabedian said he would have no further comment.

According to the court filing, the suit was dismissed "with prejudice," which means it cannot be refiled. 

Garabedian released a statement Wednesday saying his client and his family have shown "enormous amount of courage under difficult circumstances" but refused to issue further comment. 

The accuser was working as a busboy at the Club Car at the time of the alleged assault. He told police he went over to talk to Spacey after his shift because he wanted to get a picture with the former "House of Cards" star. He 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.

Unruh's son 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 because he was underage. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.

Shortly after Spacey was charged, he posted a video on YouTube in the voice of his "House of Cards" character who was killed off after the sexual misconduct allegations emerged, saying "I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn't do."

Spacey has faced several other accusations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true.

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