It was anything but a typical scene on Nantucket: No swimsuits or sandy hair, cocktails or jetsetters.
A frenzy of reporters shivered and danced in place on cobblestones outside the courthouse Monday morning as they awaited the arrival of actor Kevin Spacey for his arraignment on a sexual assault charge.
National news teams and cameras of all sizes jammed up against local reporters exchanging tips for staying warm. A wilted Christmas wreath still hung on the building’s front door.
Per court rules, only one reporter from each outlet was allowed to sit inside the warmth of the courtroom.
Outside, the chatter centered on when Spacey might arrive, which of the court’s three entrances he might try and use, and how long it might take him to walk from the car to the door. Everyone complained about the unrelenting island cold and wind.
Those with business or work to do inside the courthouse came and went. Employees were back to work after the holidays, defendants on unrelated cases made their way inside. Some were just running errands. This being a tiny island, the building also houses municipal offices and a Registry of Motor Vehicles branch.
One islander who entered right at 8 a.m. got stuck behind the dozens of reporters who had lined up outside and then packed the stairwell. She just wanted to sneak past so she could renew her license at the RMV, she said.
Another woman asked security: “You expecting Al Capone or something?”
When the silver SUV carrying Spacey made its way past the rows of shingled houses and arrived at one of the secondary courthouse doors, photographers swarmed, some running from their posts at other entrances, all looking for the shot.
His appearance inside lasted just about 10 minutes, a perfunctory court proceeding in a case that has captivated national attention. The actor said virtually nothing.
When it was over, Spacey and his lawyer ducked back out the white, wooden door and into the waiting SUV as cameras clicked away.
Then he was gone. And the island went back to its quiet winter day.