NANTUCKET (CBS) – Kevin Spacey pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of indecent assault and battery Monday in a brief appearance in Nantucket District Court. The two-time Oscar winning actor is accused of groping a teenager at a nightclub on the island more than two years ago.
Spacey, 59, is charged with attacking the then 18-year-old son of former Boston TV news anchor Heather Unruh at the Club Car restaurant on the night of July 7, 2016.
Spacey was surrounded by a huge crowd of media as he entered the courthouse. He did not speak at the 10-minute hearing, which was broadcast live on television and online. It was his first public appearance since the accusations surfaced against him last year.
Spacey stood silent in a suit, vest and tie as lawyers for both sides went over procedural motions in the case. His attorney Alan Jackson filed a motion to preserve months of texts and other communication between the alleged victim and his girlfriend after the incident. Despite the objection of the prosecutor, the motion was approved by Judge Thomas Barrett. He ordered Spacey to stay away from the alleged victim, but did not put any restrictions on the actor’s travel. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. The next court date in the case was scheduled for March 4, but Barrett said Spacey can waive that appearance.
Spacey ignored questions from reporters as he left the courthouse around 11:15 a.m. He flew into Nantucket on a private jet Monday morning and arrived on the tiny island just before the 11 a.m. start of the court hearing.
Spacey was hoping to skip the arraignment because his presence would “amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case.” A judge rejected that request December 31. Spacey filed the motion to waive his appearance under his legal name Kevin S. Fowler.
Related: Kevin Spacey Case – What’s Next?
According to the criminal complaint filed by State Police last month, the young man used Snapchat to record a video of part of the alleged incident to show to his girlfriend as proof. Unruh claimed Spacey bought her son several drinks and eventually stuck his hand in her son’s pants and grabbed his genitals without consent in the crowded, dimly lit club. The teen admitted telling Spacey he was 23 years old at the time, not 18.
If convicted, Spacey faces up to five years in prison. But some legal experts say this case likely won’t go that far.
“I think Kevin Spacey’s going to plead to a lesser charge. I think ultimately he’s going to plea it down. He won’t plead to a felony. He’ll plea to some misdemeanor and the case will be resolved that way. I don’t see the case going to trial,” former prosecutor Jennifer Roman told WBZ-TV.
More than a dozen men have accused Spacey of unwanted touching, but this is the first criminal case against him.
Spacey left Nantucket in a private jet after the hearing.
When Spacey was driving away from Reagan National Airport Monday afternoon he was pulled over by police. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Spacey, who was driving an SUV, was given a verbal warning for speeding.
Watch: Kevin Spacey Arraignment