Attorneys for Kevin Spacey focus on one clear reason as they defend him against Anthony Rapp’s accusation of sex abuse: jealousy

Anthony Rapp attended an Oscars party in New York City on the evening Kevin Spacey won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a disgruntled suburban father in “American Beauty.” Rapp reportedly hurled a pencil at the television while seeing Spacey accept his prize in court this week.

Rapp claimed he had similar reaction 22 years later because he was reminded of what he called “the most horrific single experience” of his life: the time that Spacey reportedly climbed on top of him at a party in Manhattan in 1986, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.

Spacey has refuted that accusation, and his attorneys have provided the jury with a different reason in a civilsexual misconduct trial taking place in federal court. They maintain that Rapp has been consumed by jealousy of Spacey for a significant portion of his life.

The defense team for Spacey has made an effort to persuade the jury of six men and six women that Rapp made up his story primarily out of vehement jealousy of their client’s success. They claim that Rapp coveted Spacey’s career, including the successful movies, prestigious parts, and two Oscars.

Five legal analysts who are familiar with the issue but are not involved in the litigation voiced doubt that this argument would convince the jury in interviews on Friday. The envy defense was described as a risky gamble by two of the experts.

“Human motivations like envy can be very strong. Do people engage in vengeful behavior when they are jealous? They do, indeed. Is it an especially strong motive in this situation? Alan Tauber, a Philadelphia defense attorney and former public defender, remarked, “To me, that isn’t.

Tauber, who once defended a Roman Catholic official in a child abuse case, said, “It sounds a little far-fetched, actually, and it seems hard to believe given that the complaint has been made by an adult 35 years later, to be quite honest.”

The rhetoric used by the defense seemed forced, according to Joseph Cammarata, a Washington attorney who represented seven women who sued Bill Cosby for defamation.

If he is lying out of jealousy, is he willing to risk his own credibility, reputation, and jail time? Regarding Rapp, who is presently a series regular on the Paramount series “Star Trek: Discovery,” Cammarata stated, “It seems like a stretch to me.

Rapp claimed that he first met Spacey in 1986 while they were both performing on Broadway, Spacey with Jack Lemmon in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and Rapp with Ed Harris in “Precious Sons.” Rapp allegedly received an invitation to a party at Spacey’s place.

Rapp claimed he left the party because he didn’t recognize anyone and went into a bedroom to watch TV. He said that Spacey eventually entered the room, picked him up, put him on a bed, and put his entire weight on top of him. Spacey appeared to be intoxicated.

Rapp’s attorneys are requesting $40 million in damages, including $5 million for prior pain and suffering and $30 million for punitive damages.

Rapp stated that throughout the years, he had discreetly discussed the alleged encounter with acquaintances, but that in October 2017, during the early stages of the #MeToo movement, he was moved to make his allegations public.

One of Spacey’s attorneys, Jennifer Keller, claimed that Rapp “fabricated a tale” and told it “for pity, for publicity, and to boost his fame” in her opening statement on October 6.

She characterized Rapp as “bitter” and “full of seething animosity” that he “never became a worldwide celebrity” like Spacey, who featured in the Netflix drama “House of Cards” and acted in high-profile movies like “Se7en” and “L.A. Confidential.”

Rapp has stated during the trial that he is proud of his artistic career, particularly his portrayal of Mark Cohen in the well-known musical “Rent” and his supporting part in the cult favorite “Dazed and Confused” directed by Richard Linklater.

Tuesday, Keller indicated during a forceful cross-examination that Rapp was particularly bitter of Spacey, who came out as gay in 2017 in response to an BuzzFeed News article on Rapp’s claims, for having been secretive for the duration of his public life. (Rapp, who is gay as well, publicly came out in the 1990s.)

A May 1986 dinner with Spacey and fellow actor John Barrowman, whose video deposition is anticipated to be aired for jurors later in the trial, Keller has also claimed that Rapp did not enjoy being the “third wheel.”

But Rapp’s alleged jealousy has been a recurrent and dramatic element during the first five days of the trial in downtown Manhattan.

During the cross-examination on Tuesday, Keller emphasized that Rapp has never been nominated for an Oscar or a Tony, in contrast to Spacey, who in 1991 won a Tony for the play “Lost in Yonkers” and two Oscars for “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty.”

Do you really want us to think you were not envious of someone who has earned” these professional accolades? Keller questioned Rapp in an incredulous tone.

Did you really want to be that person?
Rapp answered, “No, ma’am. I desired a career in acting.

In an interview, Brett Ward, a New York attorney who focuses on matrimonial, family, and child protection proceedings, stated that he thinks “this argument is ludicrous standing alone.”

He believed that if Spacey’s attorneys concentrated on Rapp’s attorneys’ “$40 million ask,” they would have a better chance of succeeding in the case. The envy defense “would not be my top pick or even in my top five choices if I were Spacey’s lawyer,” he continued.

During a redirect questioning from his lead attorney, Peter Saghir, on Wednesday, Rapp attempted to refute Keller’s portrayal. Rapp told the jury that while winning a Tony would “definitely be fantastic,” he has always placed a greater value on “projects I care about.”

Rapp stated in court, “I never coveted Kevin Spacey’s career. I desired a career.

Both Danny Cevallos of NBC News and Warrington Parker of San Francisco viewed the envy defense as a high-risk wager for Spacey’s attorneys. Former federal prosecutor Parker referred to the defense as a “all-or-nothing gamble.”

Personal attacks on Rapp may “put off a jury,” according to Cevallos, a practicing criminal defense lawyer, but some jurors “may be prone to think of Hollywood individuals as odd, overcompetitive, crazy, and so on.”

Is it a dangerous strategy? Yes,” replied Cevallos. However, there are occasions when there are no other choices.

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