Cuba Gooding Jr.’s attorney has accused the actor’s alleged groping victim of “stalking” the star on the night of the reported assault at a New York City bar.
The Jerry Maguire star has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree after surrendering to authorities on Thursday (June 13, 2019).
The counts relate to an incident with a woman, whose identity has not been released, at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge in Manhattan last Sunday, when Gooding Jr. allegedly grabbed the woman’s breast without her consent.
The 51-year-old, who was released without bail, has insisted he did nothing wrong during the encounter, claiming surveillance video footage from the night in question will prove his innocence.
His attorney, Mark Heller, has since viewed all the tapes from the venue and is adamant his client is telling the truth.
However, security footage obtained by TMZ shows Gooding Jr. sitting on a couch beside his girlfriend, Claudine De Niro, with the accuser taking a seat next to his partner.
At one point, the actor appears to reach over and place a hand on the woman’s thigh, before allegedly moving it in the direction of her breast, and then bringing her hand up to his lips.
Another clip features Gooding Jr. and De Niro, the estranged daughter-in-law of Robert De Niro, sitting at a table in the hotspot’s downstairs bar, as the same female approaches the booth, and is stopped by a security guard. The star, who was said to have been intoxicated, stumbles as he gets up and promptly walks away.
Despite the questionable footage, Heller is convinced Gooding Jr. will be cleared, insisting the accuser is the one who was harassing him.
Heller tells ABC News, “When I viewed the video and spoke to actual eyewitnesses, it was very clear and apparent that the lady who made these false charges was stalking Mr. Gooding.
“This lady continued to invade his private space, until ultimately, somebody, not Cuba but somebody else, had to tell her to please excuse herself.”
The actor is due back in court on June 26, 2019.
If convicted of the charges, he faces up to a year behind bars, in addition to three years of probation and a $1,000 fine.