Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey had tears in his eyes as a jury cleared him of nine sex offences.
The Hollywood star, 64, had been on trial at Southwark Crown Court accused of sexually assaulting four men in the period between 2001 and 2013.
After 12 hours and 26 minutes, the jury panel acquitted Spacey of seven counts of sexual assault, one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent and one count of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
The American Beauty and House of Cards actor denied all charges – saying the allegations against him were “madness” and a “stab in the back”.
Jurors rejected the prosecution’s claims that Spacey had “aggressively” grabbed three men by the crotch and had performed a sex act on another man while he was asleep in his flat.
Under questioning from Spacey’s lawyer, Patrick Gibbs KC, the complainants all denied either seeking financial gain, attempting to further their career or giving false accounts to the jury.
During the trial, one complainant alleged the actor “aggressively” grabbed his crotch while he drove him to a lavish showbiz party hosted by Sir Elton John in the early 2000s.
Jurors were told Spacey allegedly grabbed another man’s crotch “like a cobra” after meeting him at a West End theatre in the mid-2000s following an alleged “barrage of vile comments”.
The defendant was also accused of having had a “panicked” look on his face after a third man rejected an alleged sexual grab at an expensive property he was staying at in the Cotswolds in the early 2010s.
An aspiring actor told the court of an alleged incident in the late 2000s where “things went further” – claiming he woke up to find Spacey performing a sex act on him.
A number of famous names were mentioned during the trial, with Rocket Man singer Sir Elton John even being called as a defence witness.
Spacey also spoke of having gifted a ping pong table to Dame Judi Dench after they worked on a film together, and told jurors about staying in Harry Potter star Richard Harris’s son’s flat in the 1980s.