Kevin Spacey appeared in a London court Thursday for his first hearing related to five charges of sexual assault, with the disgraced actor receiving unconditional bail prior to his next court appearance next month.
While Spacey did not enter a plea to the charges during the 45-minute hearing — that will happen at the next pre-trial hearing in July — his lawyer Patrick Gibbs QC said, “Mr. Spacey strenuously denies any and all criminality in this case,” the BBC reports.
Thursday’s court date essentially served as a bail hearing, with prosecutor Natalie Dawson arguing that Spacey should surrender his passport and remain in the U.K. to await trial. However, Spacey’s lawyers argued that the actor needed to be able to travel due to his career and family. The judge ultimately sided with Spacey, with deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram telling the court, “I’ve not been persuaded there is a real risk.”
The judge — who called Spacey by his birth name, Kevin Spacey Fowler, throughout the proceedings — sent the case to Southwark Crown Court, with the next hearing scheduled for July 14.
In late May, Spacey was charged with four counts of sexual assault involving three men and one count of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.” Spacey had long been investigated by British authorities following over 20 allegations of sexual assault against the actor during his tenure at the Old Vic Theater in London; two of the charges stem from a March 2005 incident in London, while two more — including the “penetrative sexual activity without consent” charge — are related to an August 2008 incident in London. The fifth charge is connected to an April 2013 complaint in Gloucestershire.
Soon after the charges, Spacey said he would “voluntarily appear” in the U.K. to face the charges. “I very much appreciate the Crown Prosecution Service’s statement in which they carefully reminded the media and the public that I am entitled to a fair trial and innocent until proven otherwise,” Spacey said in a statement last month. “While I am disappointed with their decision to move forward, I will voluntarily appear in the U.K. as soon as can be arranged and defend myself against these charges, which I am confident will prove my innocence.”
In recent months, Spacey has begun trying to return to professional acting. Peter Five Eight, a noir drama with Spacey’s first starring role since his career came to a halt in 2017, just screened out of competition at Cannes. It was also recently announced that he would star in the historical drama 1242.