Cuba Gooding Jr. is using the Joe Biden defense in his current groping case. The actor’s lawyer referenced the former vice president on Tuesday when defending his client in court.
“This indictment constitutes a distorted overreaction pandering to the current hypersensitive climate where innocent common-place gestures are now misperceived and mischaracterized as offensive as exemplified by the incredible condemnation of former Vice President Joseph Biden, who innocently touched a woman’s shoulder,” defense lawyer Mark Jay Heller said in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Academy Award-winning actor Gooding Jr. has been arraigned on four counts of sexual abuse and forcible touching. Specific alleged incidents include touching a woman’s breast at a Midtown hotel bar in June and pinching a separate woman’s butt last year at a Manhattan nightclub called TAO.
Assistant DA Jenna Long argued at the actor’s hearing that prosecutors have accounts from 12 other accusers. They will try to introduce this evidence to establish a pattern in the actor’s behavior, but a judge has yet to rule if these accusations will be admissible since Gooding Jr. is not charged with any of those alleged crimes.
“Cuba denies all of these allegations. This is a typical scenario in which random people come out of the woodwork to accuse a celebrity who has already been charged. They have no credibility because Cuba was not charged with any of those allegations,” Heller told TMZ about the 12 new accusers.
While the Joe Biden defense may seem strange, the former vice president and current presidential candidate has long been accused of inappropriately touching women.
Former Nevada politician Lucy Flores penned an op-ed in March of this year for New York Magazine where she described feeling “gross” from Biden touching her shoulders from behind and kissing her hair during a Las Vegas event. Multiple other women came forward to say they were also made to feel uncomfortable from Biden touching them. No women accused Biden of groping their breasts and buttocks, as Gooding is accused of doing.
The allegations against Biden were enough to make him respond. He acknowledged that “social norms are changing” in a public video posted to his social media.
“Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it,” Biden said.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
Gooding pled not guilty to the charges against him and is set to appear in court again on December 13.
The actor, 51, is best known for his Academy Award-winning performance in 1996’s “Jerry Maguire.” He has more recently starred in television shows like “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story,” the latter of which he portrayed O.J. Simpson in.
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