Setback for Kevin Spacey in his US civil lawsuit after key legal team member tests positive for Covid

13 October 2022, 20:13 | Updated: 30 June 2023, 11:25

Kevin Spacey leaves federal court in Manhattan on the 1st day of the trial
Kevin Spacey leaves federal court in Manhattan on the 1st day of the trial. Picture: Getty

By Tim Dodd

Kevin Spacey has had a setback in his US civil lawsuit after a key member of his legal team tested positive for coronavirus.

Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered members of the court to wear masks, but let proceedings continue on today, after the news.

It comes on day five of the trial, in which actor Anthony Rapp has accused Spacey of an “unwanted sexual advance” at a party in 1984.

The House of Cards star has “categorically denied” the allegations.

His leading lawyer, Jennifer Keller, tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday morning, and will be unable to attend court for at least six days.

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After that, she'll be required to have two negative tests within 24 hours and show signs of improvement.

Mr Rapp’s lawyer Richard Steigman said he'd happy to continue in her absence, but that he would follow the protocol.

Judge Kaplan ordered that those who had been in contact with her in the past 48 hours, as well as the entire jury, should provide contact information, get tested on both Sunday and Tuesday, and then report the test results.

He asked who in the courtroom needed testing kits, to which Mr Spacey raised his hand.

Before resuming proceedings the judge joked that in other trials, news of a positive Covid test result in court would have sent jurors “running for the exits”.

After the interruption, forensic psychologist Lisa Rocchio returned to the stand to continue direct examination from Mr Steigman.

It's expected the hearing, which is being held in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, will last for two weeks.

In US civil cases, any allegations need only to be proven “on the balance of probability” rather than to the criminal standard of “beyond all reasonable doubt”.

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