Kevin Spacey will not have to testify at an upcoming deposition about his sexual partners or allegations against him from anonymous accusers, a federal judge ruled on Monday.
Spacey is facing a sexual battery lawsuit from Anthony Rapp, the actor who alleges that Spacey groped him and laid on top of him in 1986, when Rapp was 14 years old.
Spacey is due to sit for a deposition in the suit, and Rapp’s attorneys wanted to ask him about other allegations that might help corroborate Rapp’s claims. But in a ruling on Monday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan held that such inquiries could violate the privacy of Spacey and his sexual partners.
Rapp’s attorneys will be able to ask about any accusers who have publicly identified themselves. But they will not be able to force Spacey to disclose details of anonymous claims or accusations that are not already public.
“Any such Subject, and the defendant, have substantial privacy interests in their most intimate personal relationships that outweigh any legitimate interest of the plaintiff in pursuing those matters,” the judge wrote.
Spacey’s attorneys had argued it would be improper for Rapp’s lawyers to ask about his relationships with consenting adults. Rapp’s lawyers countered that they “should not be forced to take Spacey at his word that his sexual and romantic relationships are indeed consensual.”
In his ruling, Kaplan noted that Spacey’s accusers have had ample opportunity to come forward, if they want to, and said he was reluctant to allow those who choose to remain anonymous to be dragged into litigation against their will.
Rapp’s attorneys will also be blocked from asking Spacey about an ongoing police investigation in London, and from inquiring about accusations brought by an individual identified as C.D. That individual had initially joined Rapp in suing Spacey, but dropped out of the case after the judge ruled he could not proceed anonymously.
Spacey has faced numerous allegations of sexual misconduct since Rapp first came forward in 2017. But most of the accusers have remained anonymous. Spacey has also been investigated in Los Angeles and criminally prosecuted in Nantucket, but those cases have each been dropped.
MRC, the production company behind “House of Cards,” did win a $31 million judgment against Spacey and his companies, after an arbitrator concluded that he breached the company’s sexual harassment policy. MRC filed a notice to confirm the judgment last month.