Spacey is accused of indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping an 18-year-old busboy in July 2016 at the Club Car restaurant and bar on the island of Nantucket. He has pleaded not guilty.
CNN is not naming Spacey’s accuser because he is an alleged sexual assault victim.
A Nantucket, Massachusetts, judge ordered the phone be turned over so defense experts can examine it. Police say the device was returned to the accuser’s father, but as CNN reported Wednesday, the accuser, his family and their attorney say they cannot recall receiving the phone and are unable to find it.
The screenshots appear to begin mid-conversation, with the accuser writing, “like he’s hangin around me in the bar. He got my number and asked me to come out with him.”
Over the course of the text exchange, the accuser states that Spacey touched his genitals multiple times. “He pulled my zipper down,” the accuser texted his girlfriend, adding later, “Jesus Christ he reached down my pants.”
The accuser repeatedly asks for help throughout the conversation, and at one point tells his girlfriend to “check snap,” likely a reference the social networking app Snapchat.
In the exchange’s one time-stamped text, the accuser writes, “I got the autographs and a hell of a … story.”
Spacey’s attorney argued in a court filing that the text messages are incomplete and exculpatory.
“To be sure, the screenshots of the text messages exchanged between (the accuser’s girlfriend) and (the accuser) on the night in question are incomplete,” attorney Alan Jackson argues in a contemporaneous filing. “There appear to be intervening time periods between each of these texts.”
Jackson has argued that exculpatory evidence had been deleted from the accuser’s phone before it was turned over to prosecutors.
“The screenshots produced by the Commonwealth suggest that additional communications on (the accuser’s) cell phone will reveal the truth: (the accuser) concocted and exaggerated elements of a story to impress his friends,” he said.
Prosecutors told Judge Thomas Barrett last month that they obtained a copy of data from the phone, and then returned the device.
Defense attorneys received a CD containing files obtained from the phone, but Spacey’s legal team has said the files are insufficient.
“Access to the underlying databases is necessary to perform a proper analysis, including whether messages may have been deleted or to attempt recovery of deleted data,” defense expert Sankara Shanmugam wrote in an affidavit.
Spacey’s lawyers have argued that they should be allowed to try to recover any deleted data from the phone, which is now missing.
Judge Barrett extended the deadline for turning the phone over until July 8. If the phone is not found by then, the accuser, his mother and attorney must appear in court to testify about its whereabouts.
Neither Jackson, prosecutors, nor the accuser’s attorney immediately responded to requests for comment.