Video appears to show Cuba Gooding Jr. touching his accuser

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. could face a hurdle in his groping case now that surveillance video appears to show him touching his accuser.

The snippet, obtained and published by TMZ on Thursday, appears to show the actor at Manhattan's Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge putting his hand on or near the woman's leg and breast while they sat with Gooding's girlfriend, Claudine De Niro, between them.

The "People v. O.J. Simpson" star has maintained his innocence and turned himself over to the New York Police Department on Thursday.

He later pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges, including one count of forcible touching and one count of sexual abuse in the third degree, according to the complaint filed by the Manhattan district attorney.

At the time, Gooding's lawyer Mark J. Heller told reporters at the police station and the Los Angeles Times that the hours of video they reviewed did not show any inappropriate conduct or anything that could be interpreted as such.

However, hours later, TMZ published the surveillance video said to be shot inside the Manhattan nightclub on Sunday. It is unclear how the gossip site obtained the footage.

Heller was not immediately available to respond to The Times' request for comment on Friday.

The "Jerry Maguire" star was arraigned Thursday before Judge Herbert Moses, who released him without bail. Attorney Peter Toumbekis served as Gooding's defense counsel in court. On Wednesday, the actor said he would be turning himself in because he's innocent and because he trusts the system.

Prosecutors said that Gooding placed his hand on the woman's breast and squeezed and that she did not consent to it. The woman told police she believed he was drunk at the time.


According to the complaint, Gooding "intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touched the sexual and other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading and abusing such person, and for the purpose of gratifying the defendant's sexual desire; the defendant subjected another person to sexual contact without the latter's consent."

The 51-year-old actor has long been dogged by accusations of hard partying and questionable behavior. In 2012, the "American Horror Story" star was accused of shoving a female bartender in New Orleans, but the woman later decided not to press charges. On Thursday, a report was published alleging that he had groped a woman in 2008.

Heller dismissed the recent reports because he did not believe they exhibited a pattern of misbehavior. However, in an interview before Gooding's surrender, he told The Times that sometimes Gooding is "frisky but he's not inappropriate."

Gooding is due back in court on June 26.

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