What to Know
- A hearing was held Monday regarding the whereabouts of a cellphone seen as key to the sexual assault case against actor Kevin Spacey.
- The former "House of Cards" actor is accused of groping a then-18-year-old bus boy at the Club Car Restaurant in Nantucket in July of 2016.
- If convicted, the 59-year-old would face up to 2-1/2 years behind bars.
Monday's hearing in the sexual assault case against Kevin Spacey contained a number of unexpected twist, including the accuser himself invoking the Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
The 59-year-old actor is accused of groping a then-18-year-old bus boy at the Club Car Restaurant in Nantucket in July of 2016.
Here are five of the more unusual moments from Monday's testimony in Nantucket District Court:
Accuser Invokes Right Not to Testify
After previously testifying that he did not manipulate any messages on his cellphone, Spacey's accuser invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify later in the day.
The alleged victim was questioned Monday by Spacey's lawyer, Alan Jackson, about a cellphone he used that night but now says is missing before asserting his right against self-incrimination.
"I have no knowledge of any deletions of messages on my phone," the man said.
Judge Thomas Barrett said the man's previous testimony would be stricken from the record.
Jackson said the case is now "compromised" and needs to be dismissed.
The judge said that the case would be difficult for prosecutors if the accuser refuses to testify at trial and said the case "may well be dismissed for the reasons indicated" but said he wouldn't dismiss the case now.
NBC not typically identify alleged victims of sexual assault unless they come forward themselves.
Alleged Victim's Father Threatened With Contempt
The accuser's father, Nick Little, also testified Monday about the contents of his son's phone. As Spacey's attorney peppered him with questions about whether he ever looked through his son's text messages, things got heated.
At several points, Little became argumentative and continued to go beyond the limits of the questions being asked, prompting Barrett to threaten to hold Little in contempt of court.
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One such back-and-forth began when Jackson asked, "At any point did you ask him to look at his phone?"
"He looks at his phone every day; what kind of question is that?" Little replied.
"Listen to the question," the judge admonished him.
On at least two subsequent occasions, the Little remained combative as Jackson continued his questioning.
"I think you've had way too many questions that have gone way too far," Little said.
"Sir, you keep this up and I'm going to hold you in contempt. This is a criminal proceeding and you will cooperate or as I say, you will be held in contempt," Barrett said.
Little then attempted to ask the defense lawyer a question.
"Listen, are you not hearing me, sir?" the judge said.
"Look, I'm sorry, my son..." the father replied.
"Listen, this is not about that at this moment," Barrett said. "It's about what you know."
"But it's turned into that," the father said.
"Listen, you're real close," the judge responded.
Eventually, after a few starts and stops, things settled down enough for the father to complete his testimony.
Accuser's Mom Describes Son's Phone Contents
Former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, the accuser's mother, testified Monday that she never instructed her son to delete anything from his phone. But she said she did find things that she didn't want police to have while scrolling through his phone.
"There were just a couple of things that concerned me," she said.
Among those were racist remarks made by one of her son's friends on the Venmo app.
"There were words on it that were rough and sounded racist and I asked him about it," she said. She said her son told her they were words to a rap song and were only sent "as a joke."
Unruh was also asked about whether she saw homophobic comments on her son's phone, but said she doesn't recall seeing any. She emphasized that her son is "not a bigot."
There was also evidence of drugs, specifically marijuana; evidence that he had a fake ID that he used to buy alcohol and images of him "chugging" Bud Light beer on a beach.
"I don't know what it's called, but there's a name for what you do when you have a hole in a can," Unruh said about the way her son drank the beer. "I've never done it, so I don't know."
Accuser Tossed Civil Suit to Focus on Criminal Case, Lawyer Says
Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for Spacey's accuser, told a judge on Monday that his client dropped his civil suit against the actor because the man wanted only "one rollercoaster ride at a time," and the criminal case against Spacey is "enough."
The accuser voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit last week without explanation just days after it was filed.
Garabedian also told the judge his client cannot find the phone the accuser used the night he says Spacey groped him in 2016. The judge had ordered the accuser to turn the phone over to the defense by Monday.
Investigator Says He Never Told Family Not to Delete Items From Phone
Massachusetts State Police Trooper Gerald Donovan, the lead investigator in the case, testified that he was given a consent form from the accuser's family to look through his cellphone.
He said Unruh gave him the item along with the phone's password.
Donovan also admitted that he never told Unruh or her son not to delete any items from the phone. Donovan also said he never asked why Unruh deleted certain content when she notified him that she deleted "frat boy activities" from the item.
Donovan later said he believes he returned the cellphone to the accuser's father. However, he said he did not have any family members sign a receipt to document the return.