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Cuba Gooding Jr.'s attorney says groping accuser was 'stalking' the actor

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

An attorney for Cuba Gooding Jr. is refuting conclusions some have drawn from a surveillance video showing the actor touching a woman who has accused him of groping her.

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.

But his longtime attorney, Mark J. Heller, dismissed the website's claims that Gooding touched the woman's thigh and breast.

"He's not alleged to have touched a leg," Heller told the Los Angeles Times over the phone on Friday. "He was sitting with Claudine privately and this woman was literally stalking them, following them from place to place to place. Cuba is very, very polite, he would never rebuff a fan, but this woman literally sat almost on top of Claudine."

The veteran attorney said that Gooding is alleged to have forcibly squeezed the woman's breast, something Heller did not see happen in the surveillance video. The recording was among the hours of footage he reviewed before the Oscar winner surrendered at a New York Police Department precinct on Thursday.

"There is not a scintilla of criminal conduct revealed on that tape," Heller said.

 

The "People v. O.J. Simpson" star pleaded not guilty on Thursday 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, Heller told reporters at the police station and The 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.

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.

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