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Smiling Spacey denies groping teenage bar worker

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Kevin Spacey pleaded not guilty to sexual assault as he appeared in court over claims he groped an 18-year-old male bar worker.

It is the first case against him to be prosecuted since a number of sex assault and harassment claims were made at the end of 2017.

The actor lost high-profile roles, including his leading part in House of Cards, and disappeared from public view after the claims surfaced.

Spacey, 59, is alleged to have bought an 18-year-old man several rounds of beer and whiskey at a bar and restaurant he worked at in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in July 2016.

Image: Spacey smiled several times during his appearance

He allegedly said at one point "Let's get drunk", according to charging documents.

As they stood next to a piano, it is claimed Spacey put his hands down the man's trousers.

The actor did not speak at Monday's hearing in Nantucket.

Dozens of reporters were outside the court as Spacey entered, and at times the award-winning actor raised a small smile.

Spacey's lawyer argued that the alleged victim's phone records be preserved
Image: Spacey's lawyer argued that the alleged victim's phone records be preserved
The restaurant and bar where Spacey allegedly assaulted the man
Image: The restaurant and bar where Spacey allegedly assaulted the man

Spacey had tried to avoid appearing, arguing his presence would "amplify the negative publicity already generated" by the case, but a judge refused.

The Usual Suspects star stood for some of the brief hearing as lawyers for both sides spoke.

His representative, Alan Jackson, successfully argued that the alleged victim's phone records be preserved because they could benefit Spacey's case.

Spacey was escorted from the court be security
Image: Spacey was escorted from the court by security

Mr Jackson has previously tried to poke holes in the case, saying the teenager did not immediately report the allegations

The judge warned Spacey to stay away from the alleged victim and his family as a condition of his bail and adjourned the case until 4 March.

He said the actor would not need to appear then, but should be available by phone.

Spacey could face up to five years in jail if convicted.

Before Christmas, he released a video in which he acted as Frank Underwood, his House Of Cards character, saying: "I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn't do."

Kevin Spacey delivers a message to fans and accusers 3:06
Video: Spacey's bizarre video hints at comeback

Spacey's first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, claimed Spacey had climbed on top of him on a bed in 1986 when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26.

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That claim was made in October 2017, forcing the actor to say he did not remember but apologising if the allegations were true.

He is also used the statement to come out as gay.

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