As NBC News reports, the jury spent just 90 minutes deliberating before reaching a verdict Thursday, Oct. 20.
Richard Steigman, a lawyer for Rapp, tells Rolling Stone, “Anthony told his truth in court. While we respect the jury’s verdict, nothing changes that.”
Rapp shared a statement as well on social media, writing, “”I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have my case heard before a jury, and I thank the members of the jury for their service. Bringing this lawsuit was always about shining a light, as part of the larger movement to stand up against all forms of sexual violence. I pledge to keep on advocating for efforts to ensure that we can live and work in a world that is free from sexual violence of any kind. I sincerely hope that survivors continue to tell their stories and fight for accountability.”
A lawyer for Spacey did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
The verdict marks a major victory for Spacey, who has faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct (he has denied the allegations against him). Along with the civil suit brought by Rapp, he is set to face trial on five sexual assault charges in London next June, tied to accusations that he assaulted three men between 2005 and 2013. Spacey has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Rapp was one of the first people to publicly accuse Spacey of misconduct back in 2017. The alleged incident took place at a party at Spacey’s apartment in 1986 when Rapp was 14 and a child actor on Broadway at the time. He accused Spacey of cornering him in a bedroom and making unwanted sexual advances, picking up, touching his buttocks, laying him on a bed, and pressing his legs and groins into Rapp’s hips.
Rapp officially filed a lawsuit against Spacey in 2020, accusing him of simple assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Despite the alleged incident taking place in 1986, Rapp was able to file the suit under New York’s Child Victims Act, a 1986 law that extended the time under which victims of childhood sex abuse could sue.
During the lengthy pre-trial proceedings, the judge dismissed Rapp’s assault came, though denied Spacey’s efforts to have the whole suit thrown out. After Rapp’s lawyers rested their case, the judge also threw out out the infliction of emotional distress claim, leaving only battery.
In opening arguments, which took place Oct. 6, Rapp’s lawyers highlighted Spacey’s initial statement in response to the accusations, saying even if the actor claimed he didn’t remember the alleged encounter, that fact that he said, “if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” was evidence that it occurred.
Spacey’s lawyers, meanwhile, claimed that Rapp’s lawsuit was an attempt to gain “attention, sympathy, and to raise his own profile.” Along with claiming Rapp was “simmering with resentment” that he didn’t become as big a star as Spacey, one of the actor’s lawyers alleged that Rapp’s accusations mirror scenes from the play, Precious Sons, which Rapp was starring in at the time of the alleged incident.
Both Rapp and Spacey took the stand during the trial as well. Rapp testified that he “could not escape” the memory of the alleged abuse, adding every time he saw Spacey on screen, “It was as if somebody had poked me with a cattle prod.” Spacey, meanwhile, spent his time on the stand calling Rapp’s accusation “not true,” discussing privacy and his personal life, and speaking about his “complicated” upbringing. At one point during his testimony, he even called his father a white supremacist and neo-Nazi.
This story was updated on 10/21/22 at 1:41 p.m. ET with a statement from Anthony Rapp.