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Criminal Charges Against Kevin Spacey Dropped in Nantucket Groping Case

Kevin Spacey sits in a courtroom.
Kevin Spacey attends his arraignment for sexual assault charges on January 7, 2019 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Nicole Harnishfeger-Pool/Getty Images

Nantucket prosecutors have dropped the criminal case against Kevin Spacey due to the “unavailability of the complaining witness.” Spacey was accused of buying drinks for and groping an 18-year-old busboy in July 2016. During a recent hearing in the case, his accuser pled the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination over a missing piece of evidence. Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said in a statement that alleged victim was warned that “the case would not be able to go forward” if he continued to do so. Charges were dropped Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, the defense had requested the man’s cell phone—which he says he lost—to recover deleted text messages they claim would help Spacey prove his innocence against the charge of indecent assault and battery. The accuser denied altering messages featured in screenshots given to investigators while on the stand, but then pled the Fifth when the defense asked whether he knew that manipulating evidence is a crime.

Earlier this month, the same accuser dropped a civil lawsuit he filed against Spacey, which his lawyer attributed to the ordeal being an “emotional rollercoaster.” The man’s mother, former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, indicated that he did not receive a settlement. Spacey released a bizarre video in December, shortly after the criminal charges were announced, in which he channeled his House of Cards character Frank Underwood. “I can promise you this,” he said. “If I didn’t pay the price for the things we both know I did do, I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn’t do.”

Spacey did not appear in the Netflix show’s final season and was replaced by Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World after a flood of accusations of inappropriate behavior, harassment, and sexual assault were made against him. The first to publicly accuse Spacey was a fellow actor, Anthony Rapp , who claims that Spacey made a sexual advance toward him when he was just 14 years old. Spacey has said that he does not remember the encounter but apologized for “inappropriate drunken behavior.”