Cuba Gooding Jr. Pleads Not Guilty To Forcible Touching, Released Surveillance Footage Shows Actor Touch Accuser
On Thursday TMZ obtained and released surveillance footage showing the interaction between Cuba Gooding Jr. and his accuser as they socialized at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge in midtown Manhattan earlier this week.
A 29-year-old woman claims the actor grabbed her breast during an interaction between the two on Sunday. The woman also said it led to a heated disagreement between the two, which had to be broken up by the venue’s security.
In the footage Gooding can be seen sitting next to his girlfriend Claudine De Niro, when another woman enters the frame and sits down. Gooding and the woman talk while he reaches over to touch the woman on her leg. He then places his hand on what appears to be the woman’s upper body, while he pulls her hand closer to his mouth. She then places her hand on his chest. In a second video, the woman can be seen approaching the venue’s security as Gooding and De Niro sit on a couch close by. The woman and the security guard exchange a few words as Gooding stumbles to get up and walk away.
The 51-year-old actor turned himself in to police as he faced one misdemeanor account of forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree. He pleaded not guilty and was released Thursday evening without bail.
The penalty carries a maximum 15 month jail sentence if found guilty, according to a CBS News video. Gooding is expected to return to court on June 26.
Gooding’s attorney Mark J. Heller told a gaggle of reporters the surveillance will exonerate him from the woman’s claims.
“Mr. Gooding has not acted inappropriately in any shape or form. Nothing in the video can even be considered ambiguous. And I frankly and shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted,” he continued.
On Tuesday Gooding told TMZ cameras that he believed the tape would show his truth. “I trust the system, let the process speak for itself,” he said. “There’s a tape that shows what really happened.”
A second woman has come forward to accuse actor Cuba Gooding Jr. of groping while in a Manhattan club, claiming the incident occurred over 10 years ago, Page Six reports. The alleged occurrence happened in 2008, according to CBS News.
Cuba’s lawyer says his client has no knowledge of the second incident.