Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was hit with a new indictment Thursday — the same day jury selection in his sexual misconduct case was set to begin in New York.
The charges in the indictment cover the existing groping complaint, which is at the core of the trial, but also include a new uncharged incident, Manhattan Asst. District Attorney Jenna Long said in a statement to The Times. Long also made her case during a Thursday court hearing, according to the Associated Press.
Gooding, who appeared in court, is scheduled to reappear on Oct. 15, when he’ll be arraigned and enter a new plea. The indictment and the new charge will be unsealed at that time.
The “Jerry Maguire” star turned himself over to New York authorities in June after a woman alleged that he grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated in a Manhattan nightclub. The actor, 51, was charged with one count of forcible touching, a misdemeanor offense, and pleaded not guilty.
Gooding’s longtime criminal defense attorney Mark J. Heller characterized the indictment as a strategy by the D.A. to drag out the case.
“It’s my opinion that they have nothing that’s going to hold up during a trial and they have used this as a strategy to buy more time,” Heller told The Times. “This was a technique and strategy that they used to drag [out] this case further because they were not prepared to go on trial as they would have been required to do today.”
Heller added that the D.A. has compiled hundreds of pages of “irrelevant material” to build a their case but said he’s still confident that Gooding “will be totally exonerated.”
Gooding previously requested that the case be dismissed based on accounts of two witnesses who say the incident never happened and a short video backing up the claim. That motion was denied in early August and the judge ruled that the conflicting accounts should be resolved at a trial, the AP said.