Cuba Gooding Jr. is facing charges for allegedly groping a woman at a New York City club, and he was spotted smiling as he appeared in court in Manhattan on Thursday, where he maintained his innocence.
The Oscar-winning actor was accused by a woman of groping her at the Magic Hour Rooftop Lounge on Sunday night, but during his court appearance, he pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor count of forcible touching, according to The Daily Mail. However, a surveillance video that surfaced just hours after his court session appears to show the Hollywood star placing his hand on his accuser’s thigh before seemingly touching her chest.
In the clip, the woman is seen sitting next to Gooding’s girlfriend, Claudine De Niro, who was present during the entire incident. After he reaches across De Niro’s body to allegedly touch the woman, she grabs his hand, which he then pulls toward his mouth, kissing it.
Moments later, a man joins them and is seen making a lewd gesture to simulate a sexual act, with Gooding and De Niro appearing entertained. When more people join the group, they chat for a few minutes and eventually walk away. In addition, more security footage obtained by TMZ showed the accuser going up to a security guard at the disco with the two seemingly arguing about something. According to the outlet, the woman appears to be saying the words “Yes, he did,” while the bouncer shakes his head. Meanwhile, Gooding and De Niro were spotted making out on a couch, with him walking right past the alleged victim and the security guard moments later without even acknowledging her.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, news of the incident broke earlier this week after the woman called 911 in the early hours of Monday and claimed the Jerry Maguire star touched her without consent. The actor was reportedly heavily intoxicated while partying with friends at the club, and it seems like the unidentified 30-year-old woman was actually trying to help him by bringing him a bottle of water when the whole thing went down, according to sources. And despite the fact the accuser talked to bar security, Gooding and his girlfriend still stayed at the NYC hotspot for another 90 minutes.
As per The Daily Mail, just a day prior to his court appearance, Gooding’s lawyer stated there wasn’t “a scintilla of criminal culpability that can be attributed to Cuba Gooding Jr.,” claiming that the accuser was only after her “15 minutes of fame.” However, now that the security video has surfaced, it is uncertain whether or not there is sufficient evidence behind the woman’s claim to prosecute the actor.