Cuba Gooding Jr. Charged With Forcible Touching and Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree in New Incident
Cuba Gooding Jr. was led into a New York courthouse in handcuffs on Thursday. During his arraignment, Judge Curtis Farber charged the 51-year-old actor with forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree for a third incident. Gooding has pleaded not guilty.
TMZ reports that Gooding Jr.'s lawyer, Mark Jay Heller, told reporters after the arraignment that the prosecutors are "maliciously prosecuting" his client.
As for the alleged incident, Heller said, "At roughly 4:30 a.m. at the end of the day, Cuba is exiting the facility and, with the back of his hand -- his fingernail -- he taps the lady in the back and turns around to give her a high-five just as a salutation of goodbye. It's not criminal conduct whatsoever."
Gooding Jr. is expected back in court for these charges on Jan. 22, 2020.
According to court documents obtained by ET earlier this month, Gooding Jr. was previously accused of pinching the buttocks of a woman without her consent while at TAO nightclub in NYC on Oct. 24, 2018. In the docs, the woman says she confronted the Oscar winner after the alleged incident and he claimed he only pinched her back, not her buttocks. The accuser further alleges that Gooding Jr. also made a "sexually suggestive remark" to her earlier that same night.
That indictment also included 12 witnesses with allegations for which Gooding is not being charged. However, prosecutors are including them to show a pattern of behavior.
The actor was also arrested and charged with forcible touching in June and turned himself in to the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. In this separate incident, Gooding is accused of groping another woman at a bar in New York City. He has maintained his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Heller previously told ET that they believe the second case against Gooding is "even less credible than the first case," and further stated on Oct. 15 that "after Cuba was arrested over 120 days ago, a rep of the second accuser thought to seek a payment from Cuba and he declined to be shaken down. At that point, she moved forward to establish this second charge and it was presented to the grand jury."
"We believe the prosecutor is trying to besmirch the reputation of Cuba, a beloved Bronx native, and trying to establish these charges, which will result in an outrage by the public by wasting time and resources and energy of the court that have no place in the criminal court system," Heller said at the time.
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