A man has filed a lawsuit against Kevin Spacey, alleging the actor groped him in a Nantucket bar in 2016. Spacey is also facing criminal charges from the incident.
According to the lawsuit, Spacey gave the alleged victim alcohol at the bar and then starting touching and fondling his genitals for a while without his consent. He has “suffered, and will continue to suffer in the future, severe mental distress and emotional injuries.”
The lawsuit additionally alleges that Spacey’s “explicit sexual behavior and lewd and lascivious conduct with [the accuser],” has made the plaintiff unable to fully disclose to what degree Spacey did abuse him emotionally and physically.
According to legal experts, it’s unusual to bring a civil lawsuit in the middle of an ongoing criminal case regarding the same incident because it could affect efforts by the prosecutors to get a conviction in criminal court.
“It muddies the waters of the criminal case,” said prominent Florida defense attorney Mark O’Mara. “If [the alleged victim] has a civil case pending, then that’s going to come up on cross-examination when he testifies at trial.”
Other defense attorneys who have represented high-profile clients agreed that the civil lawsuit could negatively affect the prosecution’s case.
“It generally is not good for the prosecution because it shows a financial motive, and financial bias is something defense lawyers are going to use in their cross-examination,” said Tom Mesereau, a high-profile Los Angeles attorney. “They will try to show the witness is biased because they have a stake in the outcome of the criminal case.”
Geoffrey Fieger, another prominent defense attorney, said that the civil lawsuit could be the beginning of the end of the criminal case against Spacey.
“No attorney in their right mind would do this unless they wanted to get their name in the papers,” Fieger said. “The number one rule in a criminal case, if you are the complaining witness, is you never – let me repeat: never — file a civil lawsuit while the criminal case is pending, or you can kiss the criminal case goodbye.”