Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. has pleaded guilty to one charge of violent contact in a criminal case alleging the Oscar-winning actor injured three different women at different Manhattan nightspots in 2018 and 2019.
The single guilty plea came nearly three years after Gooding’s arrest in the case, which faced multiple delays as his attorneys attempted to reduce or dismiss the charges.
It was scheduled to go to court at least twice, with an April 2020 hearing date postponed as the number of coronavirus cases in New York rose and the state halted most court cases.
Gooding, 54, was arrested in June 2019 after a 29-year-old woman told police he pressed her breast without her consent at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square.
A few months later, he was charged on two more counts when more women came forward to accuse him of molesting him.
The new charges claimed he pinched a waitress’ buttocks after making a sexually suggestive remark at TAO Downtown and violently inappropriately touching a woman at LAVO New York nightclub, both in 2018.
Gooding pleaded guilty to the LAVO nightclub allegation.
Gooding had previously pleaded not guilty to six counts and denied all allegations of wrongdoing. His lawyers have argued that overzealous prosecutors, caught up in the passion of the #MeToo movement, are trying to turn “everyday gestures” or misunderstandings into crimes.
The judge had ruled that if Gooding’s case went to trial, prosecutors could have called two other women to testify about their claims that Gooding had hurt them as well.
These women, whose allegations did not lead to charges, were among 19 other accusers whom prosecutors wanted to call as witnesses.
In addition to the criminal case, Gooding is charged in a court case with raping a woman in New York City in 2013.
After a judge issued a default judgment in July for Gooding’s failure to respond to the lawsuit, the actor hired an attorney and is defending himself against the allegations.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/actor-cuba-gooding-jr-pleads-guilty-to-forcible-touching-in-ny-club-41551739.html Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads guilty to violent contact in a New York club