No reason given for ending civil case, which cannot be refiled but actor still faces criminal charge of indecent assault and battery
A young man who says Kevin Spacey groped him in a Nantucket bar in 2016 has dropped his lawsuit against the actor, his lawyer said on Friday.
Spacey still faces a criminal charge, in a court case playing out on the famous island off the Cape Cod coast of Massachusetts. He pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery in January.
His accusers lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, announced in an email that the suit filed on 26 June in Nantucket superior court has been voluntarily dismissed.
No reason was provided either by Garabedian or in the court filing. Garabedian said he would have no further comment. A telephone message was left at his office.
According to the court filing, the suit was dismissed with prejudice, which means it cannot be refiled. It says because no adverse party has served an answer or motion for summary judgment in this matter, plaintiff is dismissing the civil action.
An email was left on Friday requesting comment from Alan Jackson, Spaceys attorney.
Jackson has previously said the man is lying in the hopes of winning money in a civil case against Spacey.
Garabedians client, the son of Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, alleged Spacey got him drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car restaurant where the then 18-year-old man worked as a busboy.
The criminal case has centered on the cellphone used by the accuser the night of the alleged groping, which the defense says it needs in order to recover text messages it says support Spaceys innocence.
Judge Thomas Barrett of Nantucket district court has ordered the man to hand the phone over to the defense, but his attorney said they cannot find it. The judge has given them until Monday to produce the phone.
Fridays legal development could have significance for the criminal case, said William Korman, a criminal defense lawyer specializing in sexual assault cases.
He said: Any settlement could not be conditioned on a refusal to cooperate with the prosecution. Nevertheless, money is a great motivator for an individual not to follow through.
David Yannetti, a Boston lawyer, suggest it was possible prosecutors specifically asked the accuser to drop it . He said: Maybe the prosecution said its either about money or its about a crime, but it cant be about both and you have to make a decision on where you want to go with this.
He added the civil suit was probably filed before completion of the criminal case because the three-year statute of limitations is approaching.
The Cape and Islands district attorney Michael OKeefes office declined to comment on whether prosecutors had any role in the withdrawal of the civil suit or whether a settlement has been reached.
Assistant DA Tara Miltimore said: The criminal case is independent from the civil case and will go forward.