Kevin Spacey's accuser asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a hearing Monday, leaving the prosecution's case against the actor in doubt. The man took the stand during the hearing about his missing cellphone, but invoked the Fifth's protections after stepping down, CBS reports. That meant his testimony would be stricken from the record. The defense told the Massachusetts court that if the accuser does that during the trial, the indecent assault and battery case would seem to be compromised. "It may be pretty hard to get around this in trial," Judge Thomas Barrett agreed, per CNBC, adding that though the case might well be dismissed if the accuser won't testify, "It's not going to happen today." Spacey, who did not attend the hearing, is accused of groping the man, who was 18, at a bar in Nantucket in 2016.
Spacey's lawyers want to see the accuser's cellphone to try to recover texts that they say could help the defense but were deleted. In testimony that was then stricken, the accuser said Monday, in his first public appearance, that he "has no knowledge of any deletions of messages on my phone." A state trooper testified that he turned the phone over to the accuser's family and that the man's mother admitted to deleting "frat boy activities." But the accuser said he couldn't recall if his mother saw the phone, and his father testified that he had no memory of receiving the phone from the trooper. His mother said on the stand that she didn't delete anything relevant to the case. Barrett, who said he doesn't know whether the case will "continue or collapse," scheduled a status conference hearing for July 31, per USA Today. (Spacey's accuser dropped his civil complaint last week.)