Kevin Spacey Sexual Misconduct Trial In Peril; Defense Lawyer Has Covid – Deadline

UPDATE, 1:10 PM: Kevin Spacey’s trial on sexual misconduct allegations will continue next week, maybe.

Wrapping up today’s proceedings in New York City after a session that started with the ex-House of Cards star’s lead lawyer sidelined with Covid, federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said the $40 million assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress case would pick up again on October 17.

However, the caveat is that no one among the accused attorneys on both sides, Spacey, Rapp, the jurors and court staff tested positive for the virus over the weekend.

Lawyer Jennifer Keller will not be allowed back in the Manhattan courtroom until Tuesday if she tests negative for Covid over the weekend. With the trial going fully masked Thursday except for those testifying, Judge Kaplan has ordered that anyone who has been in close proximity to Keller will have to take a Covid test on both Sunday and Tuesday.

Based on a 2017 claim by Rapp that Spacey attacked him in 1986, the October 6 starting trial was always set to have a dark day tomorrow due to a conflict in the judge’s schedule.

After the dramatic start to Thursday’s hearing, the day was primarily filled with testimony and cross-examination of Lisa Rocchio, the expert psychologist hired by Rapp’s side. Under questioning from defense lawyer Chase Scolnick about other sexual encounters Rapp had in his youth, Rocchio said that Rap suffered scattered symptoms consistent with PTSD throughout his life — and then developed full-blown PTSD around 2017 — because he was allegedly assaulted by Spacey at the age of 14-years-old over 30 years ago.

Spacey himself is still expected to take the stand next week in his own defense.

PREVIOUSLY, 7:49 AM: The future of Anthony Rapp’s $40 million sexual misconduct trial against Kevin Spacey suddenly became very uncertain this morning.

Mere minutes after proceedings began in the Manhattan federal courtroom of Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, it was revealed that one of Oscar winner Spacey’s key defense lawyers Jennifer Keller has Covid.

Fellow defense attorney Chase Scolnick told Kaplan that Keller tested positive this morning and has symptoms. The combative lawyer, who earlier this week relentlessly tore at Star Trek: Discovery actor Rapp’s assertions that Spacey fondled and trapped the then-14-year-old back in 1986 on the defendant’s bed without his consent at a theater party, was not in the courtroom today.

When the news was made public, the 63-year-old Spacey immediately put a mask on while sitting at the defense table.

Kaplan, citing courthouse Covid protocols, ruled that all 12 jurors and 10 people in the courtroom — including all of the defense team, their first row of supporters in the gallery and at least one Rapp lawyer, Richard Steigman — will have to get two rounds of tests on Sunday and Tuesday. “First focus is on the jury and on trying to save the trial if we can,” the judge said sternly.

Everybody who was exposed to Keller at close range said they are fully waxed. But several people in the courtroom asked for test kits, which will be provided. And everyone who has to get tested must now also be masked.

Meanwhile, the trial that began on October 6 will continue — “at least provisionally,” Judge Kaplan said, before calling for a short break.

Testimony then resumed, with psychologist Lisa Rocchio telling the court that Rapp suffers from PTSD, whose onset was delayed and only became full-blown diagnostic PTSD around 2017, triggered by increasingly unavoidable exposure to Spacey via the latter’s high public profile and The New York Times‘ bombshell revelations about Harvey Weinstein causing Rapp to reflect on his own experiences.

Today’s wild turn of events comes after Rapp finished his testimony Wednesday. Keller’s cross-examination of Rapp lasted nearly five hours over two days as she repeatedly targeted apparent inconsistencies and vague elements of the actor’s recollection of the events and why he took his story to BuzzFeed.

Rapp’s allegations were among several that made Spacey an early focus of the #MeToo movement in 2017. The American Beauty oath The Usual Suspects Oscar winner and multiple House of Cards Emmy nominee faces trial in the UK for alleged sexual assault, with that case set for June, and he is on the hook for $31 million awarded to House of Cards producers Media Rights Capital because the claims hastened the end of the show and were deemed a breach of his acting and producing agreements.

As with all the accusations against him made over the past several years, Spacey denies anything inappropriate ever occurred.

Sean Piccoli and Eric Pedersen contributed to this report.

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