AceShowbiz - Kevin Spacey's lawyers are demanding the dismissal of groping charges filed against the actor after his accuser declined to testify over a key piece of evidence.
The "Usual Suspects" star has pleaded not guilty to a felony count of indecent assault and battery relating to an alleged incident involving the then-18-year-old son of former local news anchor Heather Unruh in a bar in Nantucket, Massachusetts in July, 2016.
The man was recently ordered to hand over the cellphone used on the night of the reported encounter so Spacey's lawyers could try to retrieve text messages he had allegedly deleted for examination, in an effort to determine "whether lack of consent was fairly communicated" to the Oscar winner.
The alleged victim failed to locate the device by the court-ordered deadline, and was forced to take the witness stand during a hearing on Monday, July 08, when Spacey's lawyers quizzed him about the missing evidence, amid claims suggesting he had only turned over a few of the text messages sent to his then-girlfriend on the night of the alleged assault to police to alter the context of the conversation, which did not have electronic time stamps.
The accuser denied manipulating the texts, and declared, "I have no knowledge of any deletions of messages on my phone."
However, when asked if he knew that it's a crime to alter evidence used in prosecution, the unidentified male cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and repeatedly chose not to answer the questions.
His response led Judge Thomas Barrett to strike the man's previous testimony from the record and call into question the viability of prosecutors' charges, as Spacey's lawyer demanded the whole case be dismissed as it had been "completely compromised".
Acknowledging the legal difficulties the accuser's Fifth Amendment plea posed to prosecutors' attempts to take the issue any further, Judge Barrett said, "Once exercised, it may be pretty hard to get around this privilege at trial. The matter may well be dismissed for the reasons indicated."
However, the court official insisted he would give authorities time to decide whether or not to continue pursuing the case before ruling on the defence's motion for dismissal.