Former House of Cards star Kevin Spacey has appeared in court to face a criminal charge that he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old after plying him with alcohol at a bar in Nantucket more than two years ago.
- Other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against Spacey in 2017
- If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison
- The judge ruled Spacey does not have to appear at the next hearing on March 4
Dressed in a grey suit and tie, Spacey did not speak during the brief pre-trial hearing, but his lawyers entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
The 59-year-old Oscar-winning actor was charged last month with one count of felony indecent assault and battery.
A judge ordered him not to contact his alleged victim, setting another hearing for March 4.
The judge ruled Spacey did not have to appear at the hearing, but he needed to be available by phone.
The judge also granted a request by Spacey's lawyers to preserve the victim's mobile phone data from the six months following the alleged July 7, 2016 assault.
Spacey's attorney Alan Jackson said there was data that was "likely exculpatory" for Spacey.
Nantucket, a beach resort island off the Massachusetts coast that is normally quiet in early January, was packed with broadcast trucks on Monday.
More than two dozen journalists packed the courtroom hours before Spacey was scheduled to appear.
Spacey faces up to five years in jail
The hearing comes more than a year after former Boston TV anchor Heather Unrah accused Spacey of sexually assaulting her son, then 18, in the crowded bar at the Club Car, where the teen worked as a busboy.
If convicted, Spacey faces as many as five years in prison.
It is the first criminal case brought against Spacey since other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in 2017.
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.
The American star became embroiled in controversy in the wake of the #MeToo movement, after actor Anthony Rapp accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14.
Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologised if the allegations were true.