NANTUCKET, Mass. — Actor Kevin Spacey appeared Monday in a Nantucket courtroom to answer accusations that he groped a young man in a bar on the small Massachusetts island in 2016.
A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf to a charge of felony indecent assault and battery. He will not need to be present for a pre-trial hearing in March.
Hours after appearing in court, Spacey was reportedly pulled over for speeding while driving in Washington, D.C., TMZ reported.
On Nantucket, the judge granted an order to preserve evidence -- including cell phone data -- from July 7 and July 8 in 2016.
"Certainly this is a little different for Nantucket," attorney Nate Amendola told Boston 25 News. "There was obviously a lot of hub bub around this so there was some excitement in the courtroom for sure."
Amendola said he stopped in to see hear the case as he was in the courthouse working on others.
"I think the defense counsel did a great job and we'll see it to conclusion," he commented.
The court appearance by Spacey comes more than a year after former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh accused the former "House of Cards" star of sexually assaulting her son, then 18, in the crowded bar at the Club Car, where the teen worked as a busboy.
Spacey's lawyer, Alan Jackson, has sought to poke holes in the case, noting that the teen didn't immediately report the allegations.
"By reporting the sexual assault, my client is a determined and encouraging voice for those victims not yet ready to report being sexually assaulted," the accuser's attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, said in a statement. "My client is leading by example."
If convicted, Spacey -- whose legal name is Kevin Fowler -- faces up to five years in prison.
It's the first criminal case brought against the 59-year-old Oscar-winner since other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in 2017.
A judge denied Spacey's bid to avoid appearing in person Monday at the Nantucket District Court. Spacey had argued his presence would "amplify the negative publicity already generated" by the case.
Unruh told reporters in November 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and then grabbed his genitals during the incident. She said her son fled the restaurant when Spacey went to the bathroom.
After the charge was announced last month, Spacey released a video in the voice of Frank Underwood, his character on Netflix's "House of Cards," in which he said, "I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn't do." It was unclear whether he was referring to the charge.
Spacey has also faced other allegations.
His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true.
Cox Media Group/The Associated Press