It doesn’t seem like too long ago that Cuba Gooding Jr. was making headlines for his acting. Nowadays, he’s too caught up in legal troubles for many to pay much attention to what he’s doing in front of a camera.
A third woman has come forward to accuse the Academy Award-winning actor of sexual misconduct and this means the actor will be facing even more criminal charges.
Already facing misdemeanor charges from two other women, the 51-year-old actor will be arraigned next week on the new charges.
“The new accuser is just one more splinter that comes out of the woodwork when a celebrity is criminally charged, but none of the splinters will form a plank leading to his conviction because he has not committed any crime,” Mark Jay Heller, the actor’s attorney, told Page Six on Tuesday about the new charges.
The indictment will be unsealed at Gooding’s hearing on October 31.
Natasha Ashworth, one of Gooding’s previous accusers, filed a lawsuit against the actor this week. She claims he groped her at the Manhattan establishment TAO in October 2018.
Court documents released by TMZ revealed Ashworth accused the actor of pinching her behind while he was visiting the establishment.
“Don’t touch my butt,” Ashworth claims she told the actor.
She says the actor replied by saying, “Aw, that’s no fun … and I didn’t, I touched your back.”
The actor denies this happened.
Gooding Jr. was arrested in June after another accuser claimed he groped her breast while he was drunk the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar in Manhattan. She says this incident happened in front of the actor’s girlfriend, Claudine De Niro.
Gooding Jr. again denies this happened.
Prosecutors reportedly plan to bring up a dozen more instances of the actor being accused of sexual misconduct dating all the way back to 2001, though he is only being charged in the three previously mentioned cases.
Gooding Jr.’s defense attorney has already made a strange argument in the actor’s defense. In a Manhattan Supreme Court this month, the lawyer even name-dropped Joe Biden and the accusations of inappropriate touching lobbed at the former vice president.
“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,” he said in his client’s defense.
“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 also told TMZ about the 12 other accusations prosecutors are using against his client.
Winning an Academy Award in 1997 for “Jerry Maguire,” Gooding Jr.’s career cooled for a number of years until he recently portrayed O.J. Simpson on the acclaimed miniseries “American Crime Story.” He also appeared in a season of “American Horror Story” and recently released his directorial debut, “Bayou Caviar.”
During the promotional tour for “American Crime Story” in 2017, Gooding Jr. found himself in hot water after he lifted actress Sarah Paulson’s skirt in front of cameras.
“I love the lady that is Sarah Paulson,” the actor told People after the incident. “We have a banter like brother and sister, which is how the spirit of that whole panel was.”
“Yet that image was taken out to represent some kind of sexual misconduct, and that wasn’t my intent,” he added. “The first person, when I heard about the fervor, I called Sarah, I said, ‘I love you, I see you as my sister,’ and she said, ‘I feel the same way about you.’ And so I let it go.”
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