Could Kevin Spacey be extradited to the UK?

US police may be ordered to detain Oscar winner over sexual assault charges

Actor Kevin Spacey reading a poem
Kevin Spacey at a poetry reading in 2019, his first public appearance after being accused of sexual assault in 2017
(Image credit: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

Authorities in the UK seeking the return of Kevin Spacey from the US on sexual assault charges will press for the actor’s formal extradition unless he decides to come back voluntarily, according to a report.

After the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that it had authorised four charges of sexual assault against Spacey, an extradition expert told The Guardian that US police may soon be sent to find Spacey and detain him on behalf of British authorities.

What is Spacey accused of?

British police said the charges relate to alleged attacks against three males in London and Gloucestershire. Two are believed to involve a man now in his 40s in 2005, and another man who is now in his 30s in 2008.

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Spacey, who has denied all allegations of wrongdoing, is alleged to have caused the latter to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. The actor is also alleged to have sexually assaulted a male now in his 30s in Gloucestershire in 2013.

How would the extradition work?

Nick Vamos, a former head of extradition at the CPS, told The Guardian that US Department of Justice officials will study papers sent from the UK. If the documents convince them there is “probable cause” the offences may have been committed, US police would be instructed to locate and detain the actor.

“They will be under an obligation to arrest him,” Vamos said. “The US Department of Justice will task US marshals to find Mr Spacey and take him to a federal court.” The expert said that this process could take several months but Spacey could be extradited within weeks if he does not contest extradition.

However, Spacey would have greater legal protections if he were formally extradited than if he flew back to the UK voluntarily, because in the first scenario only the charges agreed by a US court could be brought against him in Britain.

If Spacey returns to the UK and is charged, he could return to the US fairly quickly if bail arrangements allow him to cross the Atlantic, noted the Daily Mail.

‘Swirling allegations’

Last week, Scotland Yard said it was “not prepared to discuss” whether it will attempt to extradite actor Spacey, reported Yahoo News.

Deadline noted that Spacey has received the support of the producers of Peter Five Eight, the movie intended to mark his comeback after five years off screen.

“While it’s unfortunate that increased negative press is timed with Kevin returning to work, it’s also to be expected,” they said in a statement.

“The production has no knowledge or comment on the various swirling allegations and believe it’s a matter for the courts to determine validity if it exists,” the producers continued, adding that “Peter Five Eight is a film for fans who care more for the art than the scandal”.

The two-time Oscar winner has been out of the public eye since 2017, when he faced previous allegations of sexual impropriety, all of which he denied. He was dropped from his lead role in the final season of the Netflix political drama House of Cards and also dropped from the kidnapping family drama All the Money in the World.

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