UPDATED, 4:04 PM: Cuba Gooding Jr. pleased not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom today to new criminal charges of forcible touching. A new superseding indictment (readi it here) alleges three occurrences of forcible touching on June 9, OCtober 24, 2018, and September 9, 3018. Read more details of the case below and the updated voluntary disclosure form here.
Gooding’s next court date is January 22, when Judge Curtis Farber will rule on prosecution and defense motions that are due on November 18, with responses due on December 9.
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Meanwhile, Manhattan Assistant D.A. Jenna Long issued this statement today: “As we’ve noted in the voluntary disclosure form, we are still working on redacting the victims’ faces from video of the 2018 incidents. We’ve provided defense counsel a short clip from one of the incidents and, within 24 hours, that video had been released to the media. We feel that the release is inappropriate and an effort to taint the jury pool. The video released was also incomplete and only shows conduct from immediately after the charged incident.”
Watch the video from the October 2018 incident at TAO nightclub in Mahattan here:
PREVIOUSLY, October 15: Cuba Gooding Jr won’t be on trial today on criminal charges of forcible touching, but the Oscar winner will be facing more allegations of sexual abuse as a newly unsealed indictment revealed Tuesday.
Already looking at a potential year behind bars if found guilty of the supposed groping incident that occurred this summer at a NYC nightclub, the American Crime Story actor is now accused of forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse in a matter from last year. According to indictment paperwork submitted to Judge Curtis Farber by Deputy District Attorney Jenna Long, the now unveiled incident is said to have occurred at TAO Downtown at around 4:24 AM on October 24, 2018 (read it here).
Hinted at for almost a week, the new charges were made public by the Manhattan District Attorney office almost immediately after Gooding entered a not guilty plea and left court Tuesday.
Though cuffed by NYPD on his way into court, the actor was not asked to put up bail and walked out the front door of the building unencumbered. Though filings from the defense and the D.A’s office will be going back and forth, Gooding is not expected back in court on December 13. Like the old charges, the new forcible touch and third-degree sexual abuse charge come with maximum prison time of a year and three months respectively.
The Jerry Maguire actor turned himself over to police earlier today to be booked before Tuesday’s arraignment hearing as rumors spread of claims from up to a dozen women being brought forward.
Those rumors proved to be true to a point as the office of D.A. Cyrus Vance Jr. also today introduced 12 uncharged acts examples of alleged misconduct by Gooding. The incidents range from 2001 at the W Hotel in LA to 2018 at Santa Monica’s Shore Bar with claims of inappropriate behavior in NYC, Dallas and Albuquerque, among others.
“The People respectfully request that the Court allow all of the above Molineux evidence on the People’s direct case as evidence of the defendant’s intent and the lack of absence or mistake, with an appropriate limiting instruction to the jury,” Deputy D.A. Long declared in an accompanying documentation today (read it here). “Defendant’s past behavior shows that he routinely approaches women while at bars or nightclubs with whom he has had limited or no prior interaction, and touches them inappropriately,” she noted of Gooding and the crucial patterns of conduct the uncharged acts testimony could provide.
“His prior acts demonstrate that his contacts with their intimate parts are intentional, not accidental, and that he is not mistaken about their lack of consent.”
Blasting the attempted introduction of the uncharged acts, Gooding’s lawyer Mark Heller in court called the whole matter “a distorted overreaction pandering to the current hypersensitive climate where an innocent commonplace gestures are now misperceived and mischaracterized as offensive.” The attorney also asked Judge Farber to separate the charges into two trials so his client can address the initial claims in a timely manner.
The Judge did not issue a ruling on the defense lawyer’s request and there is no trial date set at all right now for Gooding.
First charged with allegedly grabbing a woman’s breast at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge in the Moxy Times Square hotel on June 9, the 1996 Best Supporting Actor winner turned himself into the NYPD’s Special Victim’s Unit on June 13.
After Gooding was formally charged, the defense put forth a since-rejected motion to dismiss earlier this summer based on “certain mental characteristics” of the accuser. Back on September 3 at a scheduled hearing on jury selection, Long and fellow prosecutors from the New York County D.A.’s office informed the judge they were still waiting for more evidence in the matter and weren’t ready for trial. On October 10, Gooding’s trial was delayed again as a newly minted indictment was handed down
Now we really know what it was and what it could mean for the actor.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.