Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads not guilty to new sexual misconduct charges

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. leaves after his arraignment in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jefferson Siegel
Cuba Gooding Jr., pictured earlier this month, was back in court on Thursday. (Photo: REUTERS/Jefferson Siegel)

Cuba Gooding Jr. was back in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday for his groping case. The actor pleaded not guilty to new misdemeanor charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse, according to Reuters. Footage from his appearance shows him smiling and nodding at bystanders.

Page Six also reported that a detective refused to shake the star’s hand as they passed each other outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Thursday morning.

The 51-year-old actor has been charged with four counts of sexual misconduct brought by two women, including two counts of forcible touching and two counts of third-degree sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty to both charges and denied any wrongdoing; his attorney, Mark Jay Heller, has said he’s “confident” his client will be exonerated. The latest charges stem from a third woman’s allegations.

Prosecutors have said they are aware of 12 other uncharged incidents, ranging in date from 2001 to 2018, and those accusers could testify at Gooding’s trial.

Video: TMZ Obtains Cuba Gooding Jr. Surveillance Footage

The cases that have the Academy Award winner in court involve two incidents in NYC. In one, a woman claimed a drunken Gooding placed his hand on her breast and squeezed it without her consent at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar in Midtown Manhattan on June 9. In the other, a server at Tao Downtown Nightclub alleged that Gooding made a "sexually suggestive remark" to her in October 2018 and then pinched her buttocks without her consent. Meanwhile, TMZ has posted what the gossip site claims to be surveillance footage showing Gooding making “contact” with the woman’s body, though Heller dismissed the “bogus butt grope claim” and told TMZ that “the video proves Cuba is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Last week, the former Tao nightclub server, identified as Natasha Ashworth, sued Gooding in a civil case for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress related to the October 2018 incident.

Gooding’s next court appearance for the criminal case is Dec. 13.

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