Cuba Gooding Jr. has been accused of groping a woman at a New York City rooftop bar

By Alexia Fernandez
October 10, 2019 11:14 AM

Cuba Gooding Jr. appeared in New York City court on Thursday as his sexual abuse trial began.

The actor, 51, entered the courthouse with his lawyers after flashing a small and tense smile. The actor was charged with two misdemeanors: forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree after he allegedly groped a woman at a rooftop bar in Manhattan in June.

Gooding has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

He turned himself into the New York Police Department in June and was later released on his own recognizance. According to The New York Times, a woman told police Gooding allegedly touched her breasts at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge.

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JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty

The unidentified woman claimed Gooding was “highly intoxicated” and explained that they got into an argument after he touched her and she resisted, according to Page Six.

A law enforcement official told the Times that investigators found security camera footage that allegedly verified the woman’s allegations.

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Gooding’s attorney Mark J. Heller said 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 previously told PEOPLE. “And I am frankly shocked the prosecutor would consider a case like this.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. in court
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty

Heller said 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 said. “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.”

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