12:15 PM PT -- A judge has denied Spacey's request to skip the hearing.Kevin Spacey has just declared what his lawyers made clear days ago ... that he will plead not guilty in his sexual assault case, but he wants to do it without appearing in court.
Spacey's lawyers filed legal docs Monday, which include a declaration from the actor, saying he does not want to appear at his arraignment for allegedly groping an 18-year-old male in a Nantucket, Massachusetts bar.
Spacey says his presence would "amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with the case."
He also says he lives out of state ... presumably suggesting it's a long way to appear in court and enter a plea.
Spacey's lawyer adds his presence would heighten the "prejudicial media interest" in the case and contaminate the jury pool.
The judge has yet to rule on Spacey's request.
Originally Published ... Dec. 31 at 9:08 AM PT