LONDON — Actor Kevin Spacey appeared in court in London, U.K., on Thursday morning over charges of four counts of sexual assault against three men related to alleged incidents spanning from 2005 to 2013.
Spacey, 62, arrived at Westminster Magistrates Court at around 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET).
As Spacey sat behind a glass barrier, Patrick Gibbs QC, defending, said his client "strenuously" denied any and all criminality in the case. He noted that Spacey had returned voluntarily to the U.K. and said he would continue to do so "in order to establish his innocence.”
The actor was formally charged on Monday, with London’s Metropolitan Police announcing the development in a news release.
In addition to the four counts of sexual assault, Spacey was also charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.
Spacey had said in a statement last month that while he was "disappointed" with the decision to move forward with the charges, he would "voluntarily appear in the U.K. as soon as can be arranged and defend myself against these charges, which I am confident will prove my innocence."
Two counts of assault involving the same person center around incidents alleged to have taken place in London in March 2005 according to England’s Crown Prosecution Service.
Another assault was alleged to have occurred in London in August 2008. The same alleged victim had also reported the allegation of sexual activity without consent, which was also said to have taken place in August 2008.
A separate assault is alleged to have taken place in April 2013 in the county of Gloucestershire, around 100 miles west of London.
If found guilty of the most serious charge, Spacey could face a maximum punishment of life in prison.
Spacey was granted "unconditional bail" on Thursday. He is expected to appear in Southwark Crown Court on July 14.
The charges against Spacey come several years after Spacey was dropped from his starring role in Netflix's "House of Cards" in November 2017 as he faced mounting allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.
Actor Anthony Rapp had accused Spacey of making sexual advances toward him when Rapp was 14 years old around three decades ago. His allegations were first made public in an article published by BuzzFeed News in 2017.
Spacey had said in a statement shared on Twitter in response to the BuzzFeed News article that he did not remember the alleged incident. However, he said: “If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
A judge ruled last week that Spacey must stand trial in a New York federal court after Rapp filed a lawsuit over the alleged assault.
After Rapp's allegations came to light, a string of other allegations emerged against Spacey. And later that year, the Old Vic theater in London said it had received at least 20 allegations of "inappropriate behavior" concerning Spacey during his time there, which began in the 1990s.
At the time, Spacey’s publicist said he was "taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.”