Kevin Spacey may evade paying $40 million in damages for one of the most heinous sexual misconduct allegations against him. According to a report by Deadline, on Monday, a New York federal judge denied one of Spacey's accusers the right to keep his identity private throughout the lawsuit. If the plaintiff does not re-file under his legal name — which seems unlikely — the case will likely be dropped.
The anonymous accuser is known only as "C.D." in his court filings, which accuse Spacey of assault and battery. The lawsuit was filed in September and requested a huge sum in damages, but C.D.'s lawyer has already said that he "is emotionally unable to proceed with the action and will discontinue his claims." Judge Lewis A. Kaplan apparently denied C.D. his anonymity because he had spoken to other accusers and the media about his case before bringing it to court.
"The evidence suggests that C.D. knowingly and repeatedly took the risk that any of these individuals at one point or another would reveal his true identity in a manner that would bring that identity to wide public attention, particularly given Spacey's celebrity," Kaplan wrote in his opinion. C.D. and his attorneys have said since the beginning that making his identity public risked "re-triggering" the PTSD he suffered as a result of his abuse at Spacey's hand.
C.D. claims that Spacey sexually abused him while he was a minor in the 1980s. He is now identified as a man in his 50s. Kaplan argued that if speaking to the media and fellow accuser Anthony Rapp did not impact his PTSD, then going through a public trial should not do so either.
Kaplan also believes that C.D.'s true identity would inevitably become public at some point in the trial anyway. He wrote: "As media coverage of the allegations against Spacey grows, as would be very likely as this litigation proceeds and a trial approaches or takes place, it is only common sense to say that the risk of disclosure would grow. He makes serious charges and, as a result, has put his credibility in issue."
Spacey and his attorneys are reportedly aware of C.D.'s identity on the record, as they have already agreed on a targeted court-issued protective order to keep some details of the case sealed. Kaplan spared some sympathy for C.D. and the plight of sexual assault accusers in general when it comes to publicity.
"Though C.D. is correct that the public generally has an interest in protecting those who make sexual assault allegations so that they are not deterred from vindicating their rights, it does not follow that the public has an interest in maintaining the anonymity of every person who alleges sexual assault or other misconduct of a highly personal nature," he wrote. "For the foregoing reasons, C.D. has not shown that his privacy interest is sufficient to warrant allowing him to litigate his sexual assault allegations anonymously. Accordingly, on balance, the public interest does not weigh in favor of C.D.'s use of a (sic) pseudonym."
Other cases against Spacey are proceeding in both the U.S. and the U.K. So far, neither Spacey nor other accusers have made public comments on the developments in this case.