A man who accused actor Kevin Spacey of sexual assault has died before his legal action reached court.
The anonymous massage therapist claimed the actor groped him at a house in Malibu, California, three years ago.
He sued Spacey for sexual battery, gender violence, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
The star denies the allegations. News of the accuser’s death was revealed in a court filing by Spacey’s lawyers.
The man was listed only as John Doe in the case. The filing, lodged by Spacey’s lawyers at a court in California, said his death was “recent”, but gave no further details.
His lawyer, Genie Harrison, accused the actor’s legal team of manoeuvring to get the case dismissed.
‘Unnecessary and contemptible’
Ms Harrison told the Press Association: “Filing the notice yesterday was unnecessary and contemptible. I’m not surprised, however, that Spacey prematurely filed the notice in an attempt to gain the advantage of a ticking clock.
“Mr Doe’s family must now open his estate at the same time as planning a funeral and processing their grief.”
The statement described the accuser as a “dignified, kind, middle-aged man” who was left “traumatised” by the alleged attack, adding that other alleged victims of the 60-year-old Hollywood star had come forward.
She added: “His fight for justice is still very much alive.”
His estate now has 90 days to be substituted into the lawsuit in order to continue it.
The anonymous accuser, who said he decided not to reveal his identity for fear of “harassment and personal embarrassment”, filed the lawsuit last September.
He alleged that during a massage in October 2016, Spacey forced him to touch his genitals before asking if he could perform oral sex on him.
The case was filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court but has since been moved to a federal court, and a pre-trial conference had been scheduled for May next year.
Earlier this year, prosecutors in Massachusetts dropped a criminal sexual assault case after the accuser refused to testify about a missing phone, which the defence said could have proved the actor’s innocence.
Police in the UK are investigating six allegations of sexual assault against Spacey, dating from between 1996 and 2013.