Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. has pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts related to two allegations of sexual misconduct in New York.
The “Jerry Maguire” star, 51, already faced a charge of forcible touching related to an incident at a Manhattan bar over the summer. But a new charge laid out in the indictment Tuesday stems from an October 2018 allegation by a second woman.
The “American Crime Story” star surrendered to law enforcement and was processed before the hearing on Tuesday. He arrived in handcuffs to New York Supreme Court, where he appeared alongside attorney Mark J. Heller. After the arraignment, a judge released the actor on his own recognizance.
According to the indictment, the 2018 incident took place at Tao nightclub on Oct. 24, 2018. There, Gooding allegedly pinched the buttocks of a woman without her consent and also made sexually suggestive remarks to her. He denied his conduct and stated that he would never return to the downtown nightclub again, prosecutors said.
According to court documents obtained by The Times, Assistant Dist. Atty. Jenna Long on Tuesday also introduced new alleged evidence of sexual abuse that detailed a dozen similar instances. At least 12 women alleged misconduct, including forcibly touching them without their consent at restaurants and clubs across the country. The allegations date from 2001 to 2018.
Gooding has been embroiled in the legal saga since the summer. He first turned himself in 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 was then charged with one count of forcible touching, a misdemeanor offense, and pleaded not guilty shortly thereafter.
Gooding’s defense team previously requested that the case be dismissed based on accounts of two witnesses who say the incident never happened and a short video to support that claim. That motion was denied in early August, with the judge ruling that the conflicting accounts should be resolved at a trial.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse on Tuesday, Heller said prosecutors applied a rarely used criminal procedure to move the case from a lower court to a higher court “because they were not prepared to move forward” and accused them of prolonging the case by starting it over.
Heller said he is completely confident that Gooding is innocent, and he asked that the court send the case out for trial on Tuesday as well.
“The defendant’s life is put on hold,” Heller said. “And we feel four months is far too long a period of time to put a person’s life like Cuba’s on hold.”
Gooding has long been dogged by accusations of hard partying and questionable behavior. When discussing that reputation in June, his attorney told The Times that he’s “very, very outgoing. He’s very friendly. He’s very jovial. I guess the word is, sometimes he’s frisky but he’s not inappropriate.”