Kevin Spacey Accuser Invokes 5th Amendment On Witness Stand

Jul 9, 2019
Originally published on July 9, 2019 10:03 am
Copyright 2019 WBUR. To see more, visit WBUR.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The man accusing the actor Kevin Spacey of groping him in a bar three years ago is refusing to testify. To be more precise, the victim decided - the alleged victim decided to stop testifying during a line of questioning from Spacey's attorney. He was being asked about what happened to the cellphone that he was using on the island of Nantucket on the night that he says he was assaulted. Here's Fred Thys of our member station WBUR in Boston.

FRED THYS, BYLINE: The accuser was testifying in an evidentiary hearing, but after a break, his attorney told Judge Thomas Barrett that the alleged victim is invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. Barrett acknowledged that this is a major blow for the prosecution.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

THOMAS BARRETT: Without him, the Commonwealth will have a tough row to hoe.

THYS: The accuser dropped a civil lawsuit Friday, prompting speculation that he had reached a settlement with Spacey. But both the alleged victim's mother and his lawyer denied in court that there was a settlement. Before saying he would no longer testify, the accuser was being grilled by Spacey's attorney about whether he had deleted any information from his cellphone. The defense argues that the missing phone contains exculpatory evidence. The accuser's mother, former local TV anchor Heather Unruh, told the judge she was determined to take the stand.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HEATHER UNRUH: So while I know it may be very unpleasant going forward, I believe I was raised to tell the truth and not be afraid to.

THYS: Unruh testified that she'd looked through her son's phone after he told her he'd shot a video of Spacey sticking his hand inside his pants. She said she deleted items from the phone that her son posted about a year after the alleged assault. But she said she did not find the video, nor did she delete text messages about the alleged assault and anything else from that night. Two state troopers testified that they returned the phone to the accuser's father. He said he does not remember if he ever received his son's phone back from the state police.

Spacey's attorney asked Judge Barrett to dismiss the case. Prosecutors asked for a week to decide whether they want to proceed without their alleged victim's testimony. For NPR News, I'm Fred Thys in Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.