Spacey shows up for groping case hearing

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Actor Kevin Spacey attends a pretrial hearing on Monday, June 3, 2019, at district court in Nantucket, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Kevin Spacey made an unusual appearance at a Massachusetts courthouse where his lawyer demanded access to the mobile phone 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 lawyer Alan Jackson called the case against Spacey "ridiculous" and accused prosecutors of withholding information from the defence.

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 (northern) autumn.

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

Meanwhile, prosecutors accused Spacey's legal team of attempting to spin the case in its favour in the media by demanding information that it already had or was going to get.

"It seems providing the media with the defendant's version was the true intent," First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny wrote in court documents filed on Monday.

Spacey, who was wearing a grey 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 two-and-a-half years behind bars if convicted.

Spacey's lawyers have stepped up their attacks on the credibility of the man who brought the allegations. In court documents filed on 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 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 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 teenage accuser told police that he tried to move Spacey's hands, but that 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.

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.

Prosecutors say they have already agreed to provide the defence a copy of the information they downloaded from the accuser's phone, but Spacey's lawyers say that's not enough. They want the phone itself so they can do their own analysis and try to recover messages they claim were deleted.

Jackson said on Monday that Unruh told authorities she removed anything concerning her son's "frat boy activities" from his phone before handing it over in 2017.

Jackson says it appears the accuser deleted certain messages between him and his then-girlfriend from his phone before sending screenshots of conversations to an officer investigating the case.

"There's clearly information on that phone that (the accuser) and Heather Unruh do not want us to know," Jackson said.

© AP 2019