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Anthony Rapp on the witness stand in sex abuse trial against Kevin Spacey

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ star Anthony Rapp took the witness stand on Friday in his case against Kevin Spacey, testifying about his upbringing in the years before the Oscar-winning actor allegedly climbed on him at a New York party in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.

Rapp, dressed in a navy suit and gray tie, raised his right hand and swore the witness in on the second day of the trial against Spacey, who denied sexual misconduct allegations. Spacey’s lawyers argued that Rapp made up the story to gain publicity.

Rapp is expected to testify about the details of the alleged encounter later Friday. Spacey, dressed in a gray suit and red tie, listened intently and looked directly at Rapp as his testimony began. Spacey could be seen taking notes on a clipboard and whispering with his lawyers.

In his testimony, Rapp answered his attorney’s questions about his upbringing in a working-class Chicago suburb, where he lived in an apartment complex with his single mother and two siblings.

He described himself as a shy kid who hung out with a “crew crew of nerds” who played “Dungeons & Dragons” and created fake magazines. He was interested in the performing arts from an early age, performing in plays and musicals like “Li’l Abner”.

Rapp said in his lawsuit he met Spacey in 1986, when the two performed in separate Broadway shows — Rapp alongside Ed Harris in ‘Precious Sons’, Spacey with Jack Lemmon in ‘Long Day’s Journey Into the Night”.

Rapp claims in his lawsuit that Spacey invited him to a party at his apartment. Rapp didn’t recognize the other guests and felt uncomfortable, so he went to a bedroom to watch TV.

Spacey later appeared in the doorway, apparently inebriated and “swaying,” Rapp’s lead attorney said in his opening argument Thursday. Rapp alleges Spacey grabbed his buttocks, lifted him onto a bed and briefly lay on top of him before Rapp “orched off”, according to court documents.

“He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp told BuzzFeed News in an October 2017 article, speaking publicly about his claims for the first time. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to be with me sexually.”

In a tweet the day after the BuzzFeed article was published, Spacey said he had no recollection of the incident. He wrote in part: “If I behaved then as he describes, I owe him the most sincere apologies for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”

Rapp’s demeanor on Thursday was generally solemn. He became visibly emotional during a brief break earlier in the day, tearing up next to his husband and wiping his nose.

The first witness of the day was Andy Holtzman, who said Spacey sexually assaulted him 41 years ago, in 1981.

Holtzman claims that when he was 27 and headed a film division at the Public Theater in Manhattan, Spacey walked into his office wearing “tight blue jeans”, approached him with a “large clear erection”, “sort of lifted me up by my crotch” and pushed him against a desk.

“I could feel his erection on my body,” said Holtzman, retired from a career in the entertainment industry.

Holtzman testified that he “screamed” loudly during the alleged encounter, saying things like “What are you doing?” Eventually, Spacey “gave in” and “stormed out of the office”, seemingly furious that his supposed lead had been spurned.

Holtzman said he decided to come forward with his allegations in 2017, sharing his allegations in a Facebook post.

Anthony Rapp, left, arrives in court for the civil lawsuit against Kevin Spacey on October 6, 2022 in New York City. Yuki Iwamura/AP

Under cross-examination, Spacey’s attorneys sought to undermine Holtzman’s claims. They submitted as evidence a copy of the program for the Public Theater production of “Henry IV, Part 1”, in which Spacey – then in his early twenties – had a small role.

Holtzman claims to have recognized Spacey possibly after seeing his picture in the play’s program. But a lawyer for Spacey pointed out that the program did not feature Spacey’s photo.

Holtzman testified that he was unsure whether all of the program pages were included in the play.

The other two witnesses from the day were friends of Rapp, who claimed he told them about his alleged meeting with Spacey. Christopher Denny, who met Rapp in the early 1990s, recounted his memories of Rapp’s version of events.

Denny recalled Rapp explaining that Spacey “frightened him, made him feel uncomfortable” during the alleged 1986 encounter.

In opening arguments Thursday, one of Spacey’s attorneys claimed the apartment the actor rented in 1986 had no bedrooms, showing jurors a copy of the floor plan.

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