NANTUCKET (CBS) – Kevin Spacey’s accuser in a sexual assault case out of Nantucket pleaded the Fifth Amendment after he testified before a judge. Monday’s hearing focused on a cell phone containing text messages that could provide key evidence.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian told a judge the accuser was unable to locate a cell phone, so the accuser, his mother, former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, and his father were forced to testify about the phone’s contents, where it may be, and the authenticity of screenshots retrieved from it.READ MORE: I-Team: Law Passed During Pandemic Protects Nursing Homes From Lawsuits
Legal Expert: Kevin Spacey Case ‘Going To Be Dismissed’
In June, a judge ordered the cell phone be turned over to State Police to give the actor’s attorneys the opportunity to recover text messages they said would support Spacey’s claims of innocence. Spacey is accused of groping a then 18-year-old at a Nantucket bar three years ago.
Spacey was not present in court Monday. His attorney called for the case to be dismissed.
The accuser pleaded the Fifth Amendment after testifying for about an hour Monday morning. During his testimony, the accuser was unable to recall how many times Unruh saw his phone or if she asked him to delete anything.
He said he has tried to find the relevant text conversations but were unable to because of technical issues. “I have no knowledge of any deletions on my phone,” he said.
“On one of the screenshots, half of the conversation is missing,” the accuser said, but he was unsure how that is possible.
The accuser and Unruh have said they gave a cell phone to prosecutors in Nov. 2017, shortly after they first went to the police. They said they never got the phone back. Garabedian offered back-up files from Dec. 2016, which an expert retrieved from the accuser’s MacBook, including a potentially relevant video.
On the contrary, Mass. State Police Trooper Gerald Donovan said he returned the phone to the family on Dec. 18, 2017, but there is no receipt of the return. State Police Sgt. Scott Brightman was called to the stand to say he watched Donovan return the cell phone and then he was dismissed.
Donovan testified that he picked up the phone in question from the accuser’s family after receiving a consent form on Nov. 29, 2017. When he picked up the phone from Unruh, she admitted she had deleted some “frat boy activities” from his phone.
Donovan had not advised her nor the accuser to not delete anything related to the case and did not grow suspicious when Unruh mentioned deleting the “frat boy activities.”
“I didn’t think that Heather Unruh would be lying to me, so yes, I did take her at her word,” said Donovan. He did not officially report that conversation until June 2, 2019.READ MORE: Six Flags New England Reopens After More Than 13 Months
Three screenshots were sent to police at the beginning of the investigation. Donovan said he believed those screenshots included deletions or altercations, though.
When Unruh took the stand, she said she looked at her son’s phone for a video of the alleged assault before turning it over to police. “I was specifically looking for that video, so I went through every video on his phone,” she said.
“I deleted a few things” that “concerned” her but nothing related to the case. Unruh said she did not delete any text messages or direct her son to do so.
Nick Little, the accuser’s father took the stand before Unruh. He said his son showed him text messages within a week of the alleged assault.
Little butted heads with Spacey’s defense attorney as he was questioned. “He showed me the text that said ‘help me.’ Does that help you? Because I think there’s a clear text there,” Little said.
He testified he never told his son to delete messages and does not know where the phone is nor did he purposefully get rid of it.
Spacey’s lawyer was late to the courtroom, which pushed back the hearing for about an hour.
On Friday, Spacey’s accuser dropped the civil lawsuit that was also filed against the actor.
According to Unruh, the family did not reach a settlement with Spacey. Garabedian said they dropped the suit because of emotional stress.MORE NEWS: I-Team: Nora Baston To Be Named New Boston Police Commissioner; Dennis White Challenging Removal
A status hearing has been scheduled for July 31.