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Kevin Spacey takes to the witness box to deny sex abuse claims

The trial entered its third week today.

KEVIN SPACEY TOOK to the witness box in a New York court to say he never made a sexual pass at the actor Anthony Rapp – who says the Academy Award-winning actor tried to bed him when he was 14.

Identifying himself as Kevin Spacey Fowler, the actor was asked about claims he picked Mr Rapp up – like a groom does a bride – after a party in 1986 and put him on his bed before lying on top of him.

Mr Rapp claims he squirmed out from underneath the then-26-year-old in the fully clothed encounter before fleeing the apartment, only to have the American Beauty star follow him to the door and ask if he was sure he wanted to leave.

“They are not true,” Spacey said of the allegations.

Spacey said he had met Mr Rapp and another aspiring actor, John Barrowman, backstage following Spacey’s Broadway performance in Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

He said he took them to dinner, to a nightclub and finally to his studio apartment, where he flirted with Mr Barrowman — who was 19 at the time — but showed no interest in Mr Rapp before the two visitors left.

“Anthony Rapp seemed like a kid and John Barrowman seemed like a man,” Spacey said in an account backed up by a deposition by Mr Barrowman.

Mr Rapp said in evidence he and Mr Barrowman went home immediately after the nightclub outing and it was days before Spacey invited him to the apartment for the first time.

He said Spacey waited for other guests at the party to leave before making a move on him.

Spacey also described his dismay over a 2017 news report in which Mr Rapp went public with his allegations.

At the time, with the #MeToo movement gaining momentum, “the industry was very nervous”, he said.

“There was a lot of fear in the air about who was going to be next.”

He added: “I was shocked. I was frightened and I was confused… I knew I had never been alone with Anthony Rapp.”

Spacey also told jurors he never had “any sexual interest in Anthony Rapp or any child. That I knew.”

An emotional Spacey dabbed his eyes as he described being pressured into making a statement saying he did not remember anything happening with Mr Rapp, but would be sorry “if” it was somehow true.

His managers said “it was the best way to contain a crisis that was going to get worse” and to avoid being accused of “victim shaming”, he said.

Now, he added, “I regret my entire statement”.

Spacey was also asked if he has been private about his personal life over his career.

“I grew up in a very complicated family dynamic,” he said, saying rants by his father when he was a youngster led him to hate bigotry and intolerance.

“My father was a white supremacist and neo-Nazi,” Spacey said.

“It meant that my siblings and I were forced to listen to hours and hours of my father lecturing us about his beliefs.”

Spacey called it “humiliating and terrifying when friends came over to the house” because he was never sure what his father might say to them or him.

“Everything about what was happening in that house was something I had to keep to myself. We never, ever, talked about it. I have never talked about these things publicly ever,” he said.

As Spacey became interested in theatre, he said he endured the screams of his father who “used to yell at me at the idea that I might be gay”.

Spacey’s evidence began two hours after judge Lewis Kaplan threw out a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress after lawyers for Mr Rapp finished their presentation of evidence.

Mr Kaplan said elements of the claim duplicate Mr Rapp’s claim that he was a victim of assault and battery.

Spacey’s lawyer argued for dismissal of the case on the grounds that Mr Rapp’s lawyers had failed to prove his claims.

Mr Kaplan said the trial can proceed with assault and battery claims asserted by Mr Rapp, a 50-year-old regular on Star Trek: Discovery on television.

He was part of the original Broadway cast of Rent.

Spacey, 63, was an Oscar-winning actor popular on the Netflix series House Of Cards when claims by Mr Rapp and others in 2017 abruptly derailed his career.

Mr Rapp was performing in Precious Sons on Broadway in 1986 when he met Spacey.

Mr Rapp gave evidence over several days earlier in the trial, which entered its third week today.

Press Association