Cuba Gooding Jr. Leaves Court Smiling After Pleading Not Guilty to Sexual Abuse Charge
Gooding turned himself in to NYPD following allegations that he groped a woman at a bar in Manhattan
Cuba Gooding Jr. flashed a wide smile as he left court in New York on Thursday after being released from police custody.
The Jerry Maguire star, 51, was arraigned and charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree. He pleaded not guilty to both.
When questioned by reporters, Gooding did not comment on the allegations brought against him, but instead sent well wishes to Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, who was recently shot in the Dominican Republic, the Associated Press reported.
“Get well, Big Papi,” Gooding said of Ortiz, using his famous nickname.
He then told reporters, “It’s been a long day” before getting in his car, according to the AP.
According to the New York Times, a woman told police that the actor touched her breasts at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge on 7th Avenue in Manhattan.
The woman said Gooding was “highly intoxicated” and explained that they got into an argument after he inappropriately touched her and she resisted, according to Page Six.
Their altercation had to be broken up by the venue’s security, according to the outlet.
Videos shared by TMZ showed Gooding at the Magic Hour dancing wildly and singing into a microphone that night.
Witnesses at the club told Page Six that Gooding was in a joyful mood and was socializing with other club goers.
“He was super good … and with everyone,” the witness told the outlet.
He was also seen on surveillance cameras leaving the club later in the night, according to Page Six.
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A law enforcement official told the Times that investigators found security camera footage that allegedly verified the woman’s allegations.
The woman is a New York University student, the Times reports.
Gooding’s attorney Mark J. Heller says he has viewed surveillance footage of the “entire event” and “there was not a drop of criminal conduct or inappropriate activity on his part.”
“I know the video, which covered the entire evening, shows absolutely no conduct or any inappropriateness on Cuba’s part,” he tells PEOPLE. “And I am frankly shocked the prosecutor would consider a case like this.”
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Heller says he plans to “vigorously defend” the Boyz n the Hood actor.
“I have known Cuba for almost 30 years and his conduct towards women is always respectful,” he says. “He respects women and he would never engage in that type of activity.”
In a video posted by TMZ, Gooding denied any inappropriate conduct and said he trusts the legal system.
“I trust the system, let the process speak for itself,” he said. “There’s a tape that shows what really happened.”