Cuba Gooding Jr charged in alleged sexual harassment incident; actor pleads not guilty
The 51-year-old Oscar-winning star of Jerry Maguire denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges.
New York: Cuba Gooding Jr turned himself in and was arrested on Thursday on sexual misconduct charges. The incident that took place at a New York City night spot appears to have been caught on video.
The 51-year-old Oscar-winning star of Jerry Maguire denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges at a night court arraignment.
He was released on his own recognisance after about six hours in police custody.
Gooding did not discuss his case as he left court, instead offering well wishes to David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox star hospitalised after he was shot Sunday in the Dominican Republic.
A 29-year-old woman told police that Gooding forcibly touched her without her consent Sunday night at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge. The woman said she believed Gooding was intoxicated.
Video obtained by TMZ website says is from inside the bar on the night in question appears to show Gooding putting his hand on or near a woman’s leg and breast as they sit on a couch with another woman between them.
The video could be key evidence for prosecutors, but Gooding’s lawyer said the footage showed “not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct” and will exonerate him. “Mr Gooding has not acted inappropriately in any shape or form,” lawyer Mark Heller said.
“Nothing in the video could even be considered ambiguous, and I frankly am shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted,” he added.
A conviction could put Gooding behind bars for up to a year. He is due back in court 26 June.
Heller said he doubted the accuser would show up for court hearings and suggested that prosecutors should charge her with perjury if she testified in court and her allegations were contradicted by video. The NYPD has not identified the accuser.
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