Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads not guilty to groping woman at NYC club
Cuba Gooding Jr. was arrested Thursday and charged with forcible touching after a woman accused him 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.
The Oscar-winning star of Jerry Maguire denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges at a night court arraignment.
He was released on his own recognizance after about six hours in police custody.
Gooding did not discuss his case as he left court, instead offering well wishes to David Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox star hospitalized after he was shot Sunday in the Dominican Republic.
"Get well, Big Papi," Gooding said while passing a phalanx of cameras and reporters in the courthouse lobby.
Before getting into a car outside, he added: "It's been a long day."
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. Gooding denies the allegations.
After reviewing the security video, Gooding's lawyer Mark Heller said he was hesitant to let Gooding surrender but decided to go through with it. He said he was surprised police and prosecutors were moving forward with the case.
"Mr. Gooding has not acted inappropriately in any shape or form," Heller said.
"Nothing in the video could even be considered ambiguous, and I frankly am shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted," he added.
The lawyer 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.
"There is no pattern of conduct," Heller said. "It is not uncommon for people to come out of the woodwork when these things happen."
Gooding was involved in another bar-related incident in New Orleans in 2012. In that case, a bartender said 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.
A conviction could put Gooding behind bars for up to a year. He is due back in court June 26.
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, who hails from the Bronx, 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 signature line, "Show me the money," became a popular 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.