Ahead of a first preliminary hearing Monday in his sex-crime case, Kevin Spacey’s legal team filed a series of motions seeking access to documents and other potential evidence, including the cellphones of his accuser, a then-teenage busboy in a Nantucket Island restaurant bar.
The motions, filed Wednesday, are part of the discovery process in a criminal trial, in which defense lawyers and prosecutors exchange information and the defense seeks any evidence that might show the defendant as not guilty or aid in his defense.
Spacey has pleaded not guilty to a felony sexual-assault charge, denying that he groped anyone in a crowded island bar in the summer of 2016.
Lawyers in the case are scheduled to be in court Monday in Nantucket for a pretrial hearing on discovery, motions and evidence matters. It is not clear whether Spacey will be present, but his attendance is not required. Spacey kept a low profile throughout 2018 and is believed to have been living in a luxury townhouse in Baltimore.
Spacey tried to get out of appearing for his arraignment in January but was compelled to show up, facing a huge media mob as he walked into the courthouse in Nantucket.
It was already clear at the time of the arraignment that at least one of the strategies the Spacey defense would pursue involves the accuser’s cellphone: Judge Thomas Barrett granted a request by his lawyers at the arraignment to preserve the cellphone data from the six months immediately after the alleged assault because the data are “likely exculpatory” for Spacey.
In their motions this week, Spacey’s lawyers, Los Angeles-based Alan Jackson and Elizabeth Little, argued that they cannot properly defend Spacey on a felony sex-crime without access to the cellphones and also records of non-cash transactions at the Club Car Restaurant in Nantucket on July 7, 2016, between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. the next morning.
The defense wants to find witnesses who were in the bar that night and remember seeing the two-time Oscar-winning actor and any interaction between him and the accuser, William Little, then 18 and a busboy working in the bar.
Little accuses Spacey (who is referred to by his real last name of Fowler in the case documents) of getting him drunk and then reaching behind his own back and sticking his hands down Little’s pants, groping him for three minutes in a bar thronged with summer revelers.
“Notably, not a single witness from the crowded bar corroborates Mr. Little’s claims,” the defense motion says. “Testimony of any witnesses concerning the interactions – or lack thereof – between Mr. (Spacey) and Mr. Little that night clearly constitutes relevant and admissible evidence.”
The defense also wants to compel Little to turn over any cellphones used between July 7, 2016, and Dec. 1, 2017, and give them the passwords to his cloud-based accounts to recover texts, photographs, Snapchats, calls and messages concerning Spacey. The accuser told police he was texting with his girlfriend during the alleged groping and sent her a video via Snapchat of the alleged assault.
“All text messages and Snapchats sent during and after the alleged incident are relevant to the issue of consent and whether lack of consent was fairly communicated to (Spacey),” the motion says. “Additionally, text messages consistent with statements provided to law enforcement are likely to reveal that Mr. Little joked about the incident with friend for months after.”
The defense is also going after records from the law office of Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston lawyer who represents Little and his mother, Heather Unruh, a former Boston TV news anchor. She first accused Spacey of assaulting her son at a press conference in the fall of 2017, after multiple men began coming forward to accuse Spacey of sexual misconduct dating back decades.
The defense wants to see records of any communication between Garabedian and the accuser and his family, their fee agreements and their meetings. This information is relevant, the defense maintains, because Garabedian said in a public radio interview in Boston that he conducted his own investigation of the alleged assault.
“Based on Mr. Garabedian’s statements, it is clear his office has conducted its own independent investigation in this case and has fed that information to law enforcement,” the defense motion states. “Our office has no record of any correspondence or reports prepared by” Garabedian and included in the discovery process.
The motion noted that the prosecutor in the case, Cape and Islands Deputy District Attorney Michael Giardino, objects to releasing any correspondence between police and Garabedian’s office, which if true, might be one reason why the defense wants to see it.
Garabedian specializes in representing people who have accused Catholic priests of sexual abuse in the Boston area. “It is clear that Mr Little and his family have retained Mr. Garabedian, a civil attorney, for the purpose of suing Mr. (Spacey) in civil court,” the defense motion says.
Neither Giardino nor Garabedian responded to messages from USA TODAY seeking comment. Jackson and Little also did not respond to messages from USA TODAY.
Multiple accusations have been lodged against Spacey in multiple jurisdictions but so far the Nantucket charge is the only criminal case brought against him, though he remains under investigation in London and Los Angeles.
He has denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex. No matter what happens in this trial, his career and reputation have been damaged by the accusations, probably irreparably.