Actor Cuba Gooding Jr charged over groping claim

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr is escorted handcuffed by NYPD officers as he exits the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) Special Victims Division (SVU) in the Harlem neighbourhood of New York June 13, 2019. — Reuters pic
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr is escorted handcuffed by NYPD officers as he exits the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) Special Victims Division (SVU) in the Harlem neighbourhood of New York June 13, 2019. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, June 14 — Prosecutors in New York charged Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr with forcible touching yesterday after he was accused of groping a woman in a Manhattan bar over the weekend. 

Gooding’s lawyer Mark Heller said his client intended to plead not guilty.

“Mr Gooding has not acted inappropriately in any shape or form. Nothing in the video could even be considered ambiguous,” Heller said, without giving details of the video he was referring to.

The actor had earlier denied the allegations, telling celebrity news outlet TMZ that “nothing” happened.

“I trust the system. There’s a tape that shows what really happened,” he said.

Forcible touching is a misdemeanour offence punishable by one year in prison under New York state law.

A police spokesman confirmed that the 51-year-old Gooding — who won an Academy Award in 1997 for his performance as a football player in Jerry Maguire — had turned himself in, but would not comment on the nature of the complaint.

Several US media outlets reported that a woman claimed Gooding, a native New Yorker, grabbed her breast during a night out late Sunday.

Other reports indicate a second woman has come forward with claims that the actor groped her buttocks in March 2008, also in a Manhattan club.

Gooding’s first major role came in the groundbreaking 1991 movie about life in the inner city, Boyz n the Hood

More recently, he played OJ Simpson in The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. — AFP

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