Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads not guilty to groping woman at bar | TribLIVE.com
Movies/TV

Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads not guilty to groping woman at bar

Associated Press
1292172_web1_1292172-ab3aa7f9912548569e54ccc0769f0bec
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., center, is lead by police officers from the New York Police Department’s special victims division, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in New York. Gooding Jr., 51, was arrested Thursday after turning himself in, was charged with forcible touching after a woman accused the actor of groping her at a New York City night spot. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
1292172_web1_1292172-186ab2b22dae46e6ae828fb35351addc
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., left, is lead by a police officer from New York’s Special Victim’s Unit, Thursday, June 13, 2019. He faces allegations he groped a woman at a city night spot. A 29-year-old woman told police the 51-year-old Gooding grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. Gooding denies the allegations. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
1292172_web1_1292172-99072448c28f458f83f22fe6c1f92540
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. arrives at the New York Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit, Thursday, June 13, 2019 to face allegations he groped a woman at a city night spot. A 29-year-old woman told police the 51-year-old Gooding grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. Gooding denies the allegations. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
1292172_web1_1292172-c59a7cab4a9f4d41897f8a39da54c2ba
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. arrives at the New York Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit, Thursday, June 13, 2019 to face allegations he groped a woman at a city night spot. A 29-year-old woman told police the 51-year-old Gooding grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. Gooding denies the allegations. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
1292172_web1_1292172-a6ffa1a1a0a148ec80e8b41202f37ec6
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., center, is lead by police officers from the New York Police Department’s special victims division, Thursday, June 13, 2019, in New York. Gooding Jr., 51, was arrested Thursday after turning himself in, was charged with forcible touching after a woman accused the actor of groping her at a New York City night spot. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
1292172_web1_1292172-240bfb7bcb7d49eeada7e79ee121243a
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., left, is lead by a police officer from New York’s Special Victim’s Unit, Thursday, June 13, 2019. Gooding Jr. faces allegations he groped a woman at a city night spot. A 29-year-old woman told police the 51-year-old Gooding grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. Gooding denies the allegations. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK — Cuba Gooding Jr. turned himself in and was arrested Thursday on charges he groped a woman in an encounter at a New York City night spot that 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 recognizance 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 hospitalized after he was shot Sunday in the Dominican Republic.

“Get well, Big Papi,” Gooding said while passing a phalanx of cameras and reporters in the courthouse lobby.

Before getting into a car outside, he added: “It’s been a long day.”

A 29-year-old woman told police that Gooding place his hand on her breast and squeezed it without her consent Sunday night at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge. The woman said she believed Gooding was intoxicated.

Video obtained by TMZ that the 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.

Gooding is then seen pulling the woman’s hand to his lips, as if to kiss it, and leaning toward her before another man steps up and talks with 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.

Gooding, in a dark blue suit, smiled and waved as he walked into a police station Thursday afternoon to meet with special victims investigators. Inside, they took his fingerprints and a mug shot before leading him out in handcuffs.

Later, Gooding sat on a wooden bench in the front row of an austere courtroom, his hands cuffed behind his back and his face turned serious as he waited for his case to be called. As a detective uncuffed him, he uncurled his hands and shook them out.

A conviction could put Gooding behind bars for up to a year. He is due back in court June 26.

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.

Heller said that after he and his staff reviewed the two-hour security video, he was hesitant to let Gooding surrender and thought police and prosecutors would drop the case.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office did not comment.

“I am highly confident that he will be totally exonerated,” Heller said.

Heller also disputed allegations in media reports from a second woman said to have come forward in recent days and told police that Gooding grabbed her buttocks at a New York City restaurant in 2008.

Gooding was not charged on that allegation.

“There is no pattern of conduct,” Heller said in an interview Thursday. “It is not uncommon for people to come out of the woodwork when these things happen.”

Gooding was involved in another bar-related episode in New Orleans in 2012. A bartender said that the actor was agitated by 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 that he was at Magic Hour partying with friends but didn’t touch anyone. He said there’s a video that shows “what really happened.”

“I trust the system and will let the process speak for itself,” Gooding said in the TMZ interview.

Videos posted on social media show Gooding at the Manhattan bar Sunday night singing the Journey hit “Faithfully” and posing for pictures with fans.

The bar, on the roof of the Moxy Hotel south of Times Square, features mini golf 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 NFL player in “Jerry Maguire.” His character’s signature line, “Show me the money,” became a catchphrase.

Gooding was nominated for an Emmy Award last year for playing the title character in the FX series “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” He recently appeared on Broadway and London’s West End as lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.