Actor Cuba Gooding Jr to plead not guilty to new charges in groping case: lawyer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cuba Gooding Jr will plead not guilty on Tuesday to new charges brought by Manhattan prosecutors who previously accused the actor of groping a woman at a bar, the his lawyer said.

Gooding was charged with one misdemeanor count of forcible touching in June after an unidentified woman said the actor had touched her breasts in a Manhattan bar. He has denied the allegation and faces a maximum sentence of up to a year in prison if found guilty.

The new charges, which are not yet public, are part of the same criminal case but stem from a separate incident, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

Gooding is scheduled to enter his plea in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Gooding, 51, won a supporting actor Oscar in 1997 for "Jerry Maguire" and is known for roles in films including "A Few Good Men" and "The Butler" and in the television miniseries "The People v. O.J. Simpson."

Gooding had been scheduled to go to trial on the original charges Thursday, but the additional charges mean the trial will be delayed. A new date has not yet been set.

"It's very obvious to us that the District Attorney has failed to establish evidence that would have resulted in a conviction" on the original charges, Heller said Monday in an interview.

Heller said he believed prosecutors were trying to delay the case by bringing the new charges.

"We're very confident that the case will be dismissed," he said.

Gooding, who is divorced, is one of dozens of men in politics, entertainment, sports and the business world who have been accused of sexual misconduct since allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein triggered the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein is to stand trial in New York later this year on charges of rape and assault involving two women. He has denied any non-consensual sex.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Steve Orlofsky)

10/15/2019 10:07

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