Cuba Gooding Jr. faces charges of forcible touching, lawyer says
Cuba Gooding Jr.’s lawyer said Thursday security video will exonerate the actor from allegations he groped a woman at a New York City night spot. Video from Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in Manhattan showed no criminality on Gooding’s part, his lawyer Mark Heller told The Associated Press.
“There is not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct on his part,” Heller said.
Gooding, 51, smiled and waved when he turned himself in Thursday to investigators in the New York Police Department’s special victims division.
A 29-year-old woman told police the Oscar-winning “Jerry Maguire” star grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. Gooding denies the allegations. He is expected to be charged with forcible touching and will enter a not guilty plea, Heller said.
Speaking to reporters, Heller said the woman who made the allegation is seen on the video following Gooding around, and at one point, she was asked to leave him alone. “That individual must have been unhappy about being rebuffed, and apparently went and made this false complaint,” Heller said.
Heller attributed the charges to “overzealous prosecution.”
“I must say it was really very disturbing to me after my office reviewed the video, that the prosecutors did not decline to prosecute,” Heller said.
The woman told police the two got into an argument and she left the club and called 911. Heller denied that there was an argument or an altercation. The lawyer also disputed allegations in media reports from a second woman said to have come forward in recent days, who told police Gooding grabbed her buttocks at a New York City restaurant in 2008.
“There is no pattern of conduct,” Heller said. “It is not uncommon for people to come out of the woodwork when these things happen.”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined comment. Gooding was involved in another bar-related incident in New Orleans in 2012. In that case, a bartender said the actor was agitated with patrons who wanted photos with him and that he pushed her when she asked him to leave.
An arrest warrant was issued but the bartender declined to press charges.
As for Sunday night, Gooding told TMZ he was at Magic Hour partying with friends but didn’t touch anyone. He said there’s a video that shows “what really happened.”
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“I trust the system and will let the process speak for itself,” Gooding said. There’s a tape that shows what really happened and that’s the most important thing – let’s not take away from that.”
Videos posted on social media show Gooding at the Manhattan bar singing the Journey hit “Faithfully” and posing for pictures with fans.
The bar, on the roof of the Moxy Hotel near Times Square, features a mini-golf course and sweeping views of the Empire State Building and other Big Apple landmarks. Gooding, a Bronx native, rose to fame after starring in “Boyz N the Hood” in 1991.
Six years later, he won an Oscar for his role as a professional football player in “Jerry Maguire.” His signature line, “Show me the money,” became a popular catchphrase.
Gooding was nominated for an Emmy Award last year for playing O.J. Simpson in the FX series “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and recently appeared on Broadway and London’s West End as lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago.”