NANTUCKET, Massachusetts — The young man accusing Kevin Spacey of groping him in Massachusetts bar invoked his Fifth Amendment rights on Monday and refused to answer any questions about a missing cell phone he was using the night of the alleged incident.
The pre-trial drama, which threatened to unravel the entire case against Spacey, erupted out of what had started as seemingly routine matter: Whereabouts of a phone the accuser had when Spacey allegedly groped him at the Club Car restaurant and bar in Nantucket in the early morning hours of July 8, 2016.
"Your honor, we could not locate the phone," family attorney Mitchell Garabedian told Nantucket District Court Judge Thomas Barrett at the start of the hearing.
Then on the witness stand, the accuser said he had not altered or deleted any potential evidence off that iPhone he had in 2016. But when defense lawyer Alan Jackson reminded him it'd be felony to alter evidence, the court took a break and then the young man told Barrett he'd invoke his right against self-incrimination on the phone issue.
If the accuser refuses to answer any questions, then the whole case should be tossed, according to Jackson.
"This entire case is completely compromised. He is the sole witness," Jackson pleaded. "This case needs to be dismissed and I believe it needs to be dismissed today."
And Judge Barrett seemed to agree, but put the matter off so prosecutors could discuss their next move.
"You may be on the money," Barrett told the defense. "It might be dismissed for the reasons indicated but it's not going to happen today."
The accuser had taken the stand and said some of text messages, with his then-girlfriend and a group chat with seven male pals, from the time in question have gone missing.
"I did not delete any information," said the accuser, who was 18 at the time of the incident. "I gave what I had available to me at the time and I did not manipulate any of that."
But then after a break in testimony, the accuser told the judge he is pleading the Fifth Amendment and Barrett had all of his previous testimony, given just minutes earlier, stricken from the record.
Spacey, 59, has pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 2-1/2 years behind bars. The actor was not in court on Monday.
Last week, the accuser dropped his civil lawsuit against the actor.
Ezra Kaplan reported from Nantucket and David K. Li from New York