Cuba Gooding Jr. has pleaded not guilty after being charged with “forcible touching” following his surrender to NYPD’s Special Victim Units yesterday (June 13).
The actor, 51, is accused of groping a woman at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge in Manhattan on Sunday (June 9). If convicted, he faced up to one year in prison. The woman accused Gooding of grabbing her breast whilst he was intoxicated at around 11:15pm on June 9.
Footage of the alleged incident has been obtained by TMZ in which Gooding appears to touch a woman’s leg and chest. Later on, the alleged victim confronts Gooding about the incident before security intervenes.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gooding’s lawyer, Mark J. Heller, denied the allegation. He said: “We have reviewed almost two hours of tapes, and we do not see any criminal conduct having been perpetrated on his part.”
Heller later said that Gooding is “very, very outgoing” and added: “He’s very friendly. He’s very jovial. I guess the word is, sometimes he’s frisky but he’s not inappropriate.”
He continued: “[Gooding] respects women. I’ve known him for over 30 years, never been charged or convicted of any crimes… I don’t think it’s going to create any pattern or affect his case.”
In court today (June 14), his lawyer repeated the denials. “Mr Gooding has not acted inappropriately in any shape or form,” 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.
In an interview with TMZ prior to his arrest, Gooding has maintained his innocence. He said:“I trust the system and the process…There’s a tape that shows what really happened. That’s the most important thing.”
NYPD police have said that they are also investigating allegations brought forth by a second woman, who has accused Gooding of groping her at a New York City restaurant in 2008.
The actor won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his part in Jerry Maguire alongside Tom Cruse in 1996.