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Kevin Spacey appears at court for hearing in groping case

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Sporting a gray suit and glasses, Kevin Spacey appeared Monday at a Massachusetts courthouse where a judge is set to hold a hearing in the case accusing the disgraced actor of groping a young man at a Nantucket bar in 2016.

Spacey’s appearance comes somewhat as a surprise as he was not required to attend the hearing and has stayed away from the courthouse except for a brief hearing in January, which he also tried to avoid.

The 59-year-old former “House of Cards” actor, who has pleaded not guiltyto a charge of indecent assault and battery, did not comment as he walked in with his lawyers. Spacey faces up to 2 ½ years in jail if convicted.

Spacey’s attorneys have stepped up their attacks on the credibility of the man who brought the allegations. In court documents filed Friday, defense attorney Alan Jackson accused the man of deleting text messages that support Spacey’s claims of innocence.

It’s the only criminal case that has been brought against the two-time Oscar winner since his career fell apart amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations in 2017.

The case first came to light that year when former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh said Spacey got her son drunk and then sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a popular restaurant and bar on the resort island off Cape Cod.

Unruh’s son told police that he wanted to get a picture with Spacey and went over to talk to him after his shift ended at the Club Car, where he worked as a busboy. The man said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man’s pants and groping him for about three minutes.

The accuser told police that he tried to move Spacey’s hands, but the groping continued, and he didn’t know what to do because he didn’t want to get in trouble for drinking. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.

Spacey’s lawyers have called the allegations “patently false” and accused the man of lying in the hopes of making money in a civil case against Spacey. They argued that the two engaged in nothing more than “consensual flirtation” and questioned why, according to the man’s story, he did not object or try to move away if he was being assaulted.

Spacey’s attorney urged the court in Friday’s motion to order prosecutors to hand over a “complete and unaltered” forensic copy of the accuser’s cellphone, saying newly produced evidence confirms he “deleted exculpatory text messages and provided falsified screenshots of his conversation from the night in question to law enforcement.”

Spacey’s lawyer is also seeking any communications about the case made by a top prosecutor in the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office who disclosed that his sister is friends with the accuser’s mother.

Judge Thomas Barrett has ordered the Club Car to hand over any surveillance footage taken between 5 p.m. July 7, 2016, and 3 a.m. July 8, 2016.

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