Sunday, October 2, 2022

Cuba Gooding Jr. faces February trial in NYC groping case

NEW YORK (AP) – Cuba Gooding Jr. is set to stand trial in February in his New York groping case, a judge said Monday, with prosecutors planning to portray the actor as a serial criminal and defense claiming the case is example #MeToo got mad.

Judge Curtis Farber has set a February 1 trial date for the case, which includes accusations that Oscar-winning Jerry Maguire abused three different women in three different nightlife venues in Manhattan in 2018 and 2019.

One of the women claimed that Gooding pinched her buttocks. Another said he squeezed her breasts.

Farber has expressed a desire to start the trial earlier, perhaps in December, but Gooding’s attorney Peter Tumbekis said he would then be involved with the Bronx trials.

“I want to block this pending trial,” Farber said at a Manhattan court hearing. “This case has been on my calendar for two years, lasting for three years.”

“If I give you the exact date, I don’t want to hear that the case in the Bronx was not reviewed and the judge postponed it until February,” said the angry judge. “It won’t fly with me.”

Gooding’s trial was due to appear in April 2020, but it was dropped as coronavirus cases skyrocketed in New York and the state closed most of the court cases.

Gooding was arrested in June 2019 after a 29-year-old woman told police that he squeezed her breasts without her consent at the Magic Hour rooftop bar and lounge near Times Square.

A few months later, Gooding was indicted for two more incidents as more women accused him of mistreating him.

He was accused of pinching a waiter on the buttocks after he gave her a sexual remark at TAO Downtown and violently touched a woman at the LAVO New York nightclub in 2018.

Overall, 53-year-old Gooding has been charged with six counts of offenses that could go to jail if found guilty.

He pleaded not guilty and denies all allegations of wrongdoing. His lawyers argued that overzealous prosecutors, engulfed in the fervor of the #MeToo movement, are trying to turn “banal gestures” or misunderstandings into crimes.

For example, Gooding’s lawyers say that in video footage of the TAO incident, Gooding taps his fingernail on the back and turns to say goodbye to her, leaving the club at around 4:30 am.

Prosecutors arranged for Tumbekis and Gooding to watch a video of an episode of LAVO in New York, which the lawyer said he was not allowed to do due to COVID-19 restrictions at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Gooding, dressed in a dark suit, tie, and mask, waited on a bench in the courtroom gallery while Farber handled two other cases before the star’s case was announced.

Gooding did not speak at the time of the hearing. Leaving the hall, he showed his thumb to the man in the hallway, who called his name.

Farber had previously ruled that prosecutors could call two more women to testify about their allegations that Gooding also violated them. Those women, according to whose statements a criminal case was not opened, were among 19 other accused whom the prosecutor’s office tried to call as witnesses.

In addition to a criminal case, Gooding is accused of raping a woman in New York in 2013. After a default judgment was issued in July by a judge because Gooding did not respond to the lawsuit, the actor hired a lawyer who indicated they would fight it.

Nation World News Desk
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