A dozen women are willing to testify against Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. at his upcoming trial on sexual-misconduct charges, prosecutors revealed in Manhattan criminal court Tuesday.
Gooding pleaded not guilty at his Tuesday arraignment to two additional counts of misdemeanor forcible touching in a newly unsealed indictment that also includes uncharged allegations from “12 additional complainants” prosecutors hope will testify during the trial.
The indictment alleges that “past behavior shows that he routinely approaches women while at bars or nightclubs with whom he has limited or no prior interaction, and touches them inappropriately.”
The 51-year-old actor also faces charges of third-degree misdemeanor sexual abuse and forcible touching for allegedly groping a woman’s breasts without her consent at a Times Square club in June. The actor has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Dressed in a black suit, a white pocket square, and handcuffs, the Jerry Maguire actor remained quiet during his brief arraignment as prosecutors described the additional incident that halted the star’s already postponed trial last Thursday.
The indictment, which was unsealed Tuesday, alleges that on Oct. 24, 2018, Gooding “pinched the buttocks of” the woman “without her consent” while at TAO Downtown Nightclub in Manhattan. When the woman, who has not been identified, confronted the star, he allegedly “claimed that he had only pinched her back, not her buttocks.”
Prosecutors allege Gooding started to “raise his voice” as he continued to deny the woman’s claims, getting so angry that he said “he would never return to that nightclub again.” The woman claimed the assault occurred shortly after Gooding made a “sexually suggestive remark.”
Gooding’s defense attorney, Mark Heller, spoke to reporters outside the courthouse hours before his appearance to confirm the star surrendered to police Tuesday morning. He also suggested the latest charges are short on viable evidence—a claim he continued inside the courtroom.
“It has been 124 days since the arrest of Cuba Gooding Jr., and in my opinion the District Attorney’s office has tormented Mr. Gooding, knowing that his life and his career has been put on hold and cooly delaying this prosecution,” Heller said in court before asking the judge to sever the two allegations into separate cases “as to not prejudice Mr. Gooding.”
Heller also said “the indictment constitutes a disillusioned overreaction,” and likened it to the “incredible condemnation” former Vice President Joe Biden faced after touching “a woman’s shoulder.”
The latest allegations come just months after prosecutors initially charged Gooding for groping a woman at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in Times Square on June 9.
Prosecutors allege the 29-year-old woman, who has not been identified, met the “heavily intoxicated” actor during a night out with friends and offered him a cup of water. While the two of them were in the midst of a conversation, the woman alleged, The People v. O.J. Simpson star groped her breasts.
The 29-year-old allegedly left the bar and immediately called authorities, but Gooding was no longer at the bar when officers arrived. Shortly after the actor voluntarily surrendered to the police to be arrested, TMZ published surveillance footage allegedly showing the incident.
In the latest indictment, prosecutors detailed a dozen uncharged allegations from women who have accused the actor of sexual misconduct over the last decade, attempting to show a pattern of behavior. The women, known as Molineux witnesses because their allegations involve uncharged crimes, plan to testify at his trial, prosecutors said.
One woman said she was at the W Hotel in Los Angeles in 2001 when Gooding “rubbed his groin and pelvis against her buttocks while he simultaneously grabbed her buttocks and her breast with his hand.
Another woman alleges that she approached Gooding while at the Yard House in Long Beach, Calif., in 2003. After posing for a picture together, Gooding allegedly “placed his hand” on the woman’s butt and “squeezed, without her consent,” before saying, “You’ve got a good piece of ass.” The woman, who was not identified, allegedly walked away with her friends, but Gooding followed her to her table. The star also allegedly “attempted to make sexual advances” on the woman’s friend and “kissed her hand.”
Another woman alleges that in 2006, Gooding “bit her shoulder, on her bare back” at the bar Chi in Hollywood and “shrugged” when she questioned him before biting her a second time.
When the woman “turned around to face the defendant a second time,” the indictment alleges, “he placed his finger to his lips indicating for the woman to remain quiet.” “The defendant then began to thrust his pelvis against” the woman’s leg and “attempted to lift the bottom of her shirt up,” the documents state.
A year later, while at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, the star allegedly “forcibly pulled” another woman toward him in an attempt to kiss her. When she pulled away, Gooding allegedly “licked her face and grabbed her buttocks with his hand.”
Prosecutors also allege that in 2011, while at a Los Angeles bar, Gooding grabbed another woman “by the arm,” placed “his hand inside the woman’s blouse and squeezed her bare breast,” and then said, “Sit on my face, pee in my mouth.”
Gooding has not been charged in these alleged incidents, but his lawyer said he is aware of the additional claims.
The star was released on his own recognizance Tuesday and is expected to return to court Dec. 13.