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Kevin Spacey case could be dismissed

The 59-year-old actor has pled not guilty to criminal charges of indecent assault and battery in connection with an allegation he groped a young man in a bar in July 2016.

FILE: Actor Kevin Spacey at the season 4 premiere screening of 'House of Cards' in Washington in February 2016. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Kevin Spacey's sexual assault case could be dismissed after his accuser invoked the Fifth Amendment at a pretrial hearing.

The 59-year-old actor has pled not guilty to criminal charges of indecent assault and battery in connection with an allegation he groped a young man in a bar in July 2016 and now the case may not even make it to trial following the events of a hearing on Monday.

The pretrial meeting in Massachusetts focussed on a phone used by the alleged victim, who texted his girlfriend and sent a video during the alleged assault, with the prosecution explaining they had obtained data, which they shared with the defence, before returning the device to the man's family, only for it to go missing.

The former House of Cards star's team was keen to examine the phone in case evidence was deleted before it was handed over, with one lawyer telling the judge they believed the accuser and his mother had "sanitised the phone".

The alleged victim testified that he hadn't deleted anything but then, after consulting with his lawyer, opted to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Judge Thomas Barrett agreed he had the right to take the Fifth but said his testimony would be stricken.

Spacey's lawyer, Alan Jackson then said: "This case needs to be dismissed, and it needs to be dismissed today."

The judge told prosecutors they could have time to figure out how they wanted to proceed with the case but reportedly added: "It may be pretty hard to get around this in trial. The matter may well be dismissed for the reason indicated. It's not going to happen today."

Mr Jackson had shown screenshots of texts given to police showing they didn't entirely match data recovered from the forensic image, while the lead investigator on the case testified the data had been altered on the phone.

When asked by Spacey's lawyer if he knew it was a crime to delete messages, the accuser said he didn't before opting to take the Fifth.

The American Beauty actor's team have also reportedly made a case for dismissal after his accuser's mother apparently watched her son testify on TV while waiting in another room when she was supposed to be sequestered.

The latest development comes after the alleged victim recently dropped a civil lawsuit against the actor.

Spacey - who has been accused of misconduct by several men - was fired from Netflix drama House of Cards over previous sexual assault allegations made against him and was replaced in the drama All The Money In The World.

In November 2017, he entered a treatment facility and has remained out of the public eye since.

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