Cuba Gooding Jr. to plead not guilty to groping woman at bar

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NEW YORK (AP) — Cuba Gooding Jr. was arrested Thursday and charged with forcible touching after a woman accused the actor of groping her at a New York City night spot.

Gooding, 51, was charged after turning himself in to investigators in the New York Police Department’s special victims division. Gooding smiled and waved as he walked into the building.

Inside, he was fingerprinted and a mugshot was taken.

Gooding remained in police custody Thursday afternoon and was expected to be arraigned later in the day. His lawyer said he will plead not guilty to the misdemeanor charge.

A conviction could put Gooding behind bars for up to a year. He denies the allegations.

Gooding’s lawyer, Mark Heller, said security video from Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge showed “not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct” on his part and will exonerate him.

“Mr. Gooding has not acted inappropriately in any shape or form,” Heller told reporters after the arrest.

“Nothing in the video could even be considered ambiguous, and I frankly am shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted,” he added.

A 29-year-old woman told police the Oscar-winning “Jerry Maguire” star grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated around 11:15 p.m. Sunday.

Heller said he doubted the accuser would show up at court hearings and suggested prosecutors should charge her with perjury if she testified in court and her allegations were contradicted by video.

The NYPD has not identified the accuser.

Heller said that after he and his staff reviewed the two-hour security video, he was hesitant to let Gooding surrender and thought police and prosecutors would drop the case.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office did not immediately comment.

“I am highly confident that he will be totally exonerated,” Heller said.

Heller also disputed allegations in media reports from a second woman said to have come forward in recent days and told police that Gooding grabbed her buttocks at a New York City restaurant in 2008.

Gooding was not charged on that allegation.

“There is no pattern of conduct,” Heller said in an interview Thursday. “It is not uncommon for people to come out of the woodwork when these things happen.”

Gooding was involved in another bar-related episode in New Orleans in 2012. A bartender said that the actor was agitated with patrons who wanted photos with him and that he pushed her when she asked him to leave.

An arrest warrant was issued, but the bartender declined to press charges.

As for Sunday night, Gooding told TMZ that he was at Magic Hour partying with friends but didn’t touch anyone. He said there’s a video that shows “what really happened.”

“I trust the system and will let the process speak for itself,” Gooding said.

Videos posted on social media show Gooding at the Manhattan bar Sunday night singing the Journey hit “Faithfully” and posing for pictures with fans.

The bar, on the roof of the Moxy Hotel south of Times Square, features a mini-golf course and sweeping views of the Empire State Building and other Big Apple landmarks.

Gooding, a Bronx native, rose to fame after starring in “Boyz N the Hood” in 1991.

Six years later, he won an Oscar for his role as a professional football player in “Jerry Maguire.” His character’s signature line, “Show me the money,” became a catchphrase.

Gooding was nominated for an Emmy Award last year for playing O.J. Simpson in the FX series “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and recently appeared on Broadway and London’s West End as lawyer Billy Flynn in “Chicago.”

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