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Cuba Gooding Jr. Pleads Guilty to Forcibly Kissing Waitress at New York City Nightclub

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., 54, admitted in court that he forced a woman into a kiss at a New York City nightclub in 2018. Gooding had faced three cases for misdemeanor forcible touching for separate alleged incidents in Manhattan.

As part of the plea deal, Gooding will get no jail time, and can, after six months of counseling, withdraw this misdemeanor plea in exchange for a harassment violation, according to The Associated Press.

Authorities said Gooding touched women without their consent as follows:

  • The 2018 forced kissing incident at the LAVO nightclub near the southeast corner of Central Park.
  • Allegedly pinching a server’s butt at the TAO Downtown Restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood in 2018.
  • Allegedly grabbing a woman’s breast at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge, several blocks south of Times Square, in 2019.

Gooding only admitted to the LAVO incident. He said in court that he “kissed the waitress on her lips” without consent, according to the AP.

Gooding’s lawyer, Frank Rothman, told Law&Crime that before Gooding kissed the waitress on the mouth, she had kissed Gooding on his cheek when the actor gave her a tip. After that, Gooding gave her a full-on kiss. That is what the actor pleaded guilty to on Wednesday

According to New York Daily News reporter Molly Crane-Newman, Rothman interrupted the woman involved in the alleged Magic Hour incident as she was giving a victim impact statement, calling her delusional.

Rothman confirmed to Law&Crime in a phone interview Wednesday that he did call the woman delusional, although he says he waited until she was done talking before standing up and objecting to her statement.

“I can’t let nonsense like that go unchecked,” said Rothman, who also asserted that the woman had maintained a false version of events that did not match surveillance footage of the incident.

As paraphrased by Rothman, the woman said that “in essence her life has been changed, has been ruined” by what happened. The attorney, however, described her as a “fan” who had been following Gooding and his girlfriend around.

Rothman denied that he was victim shaming, and he maintained that while there was physical contact when Gooding reached over for a water bottle, the contact was not criminal and it was not sexual.

Law&Crime could not immediately reach the woman in the alleged Magic Hour incident for comment.

Prosecutors reportedly said they had wanted to call 19 other women—all alleged victims of other non-consensual touching by Gooding that did not result in criminal charges—as witnesses if the actor’s case ever went to trial. The judge had ruled that two of them could testify.

Gooding is also contesting an ongoing federal lawsuit for allegedly raping a woman identified only as “Jane Doe” in court filings. The plaintiff in that case said she met the actor with a friend at a Greenwich Village restaurant in 2013. According to her account, they went to a nearby hotel lounge. She said she then went with Gooding to his hotel room, ostensibly so he could change his clothes; instead, she alleges, he got naked and raped her twice despite her repeated protestations.

[Image via Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images for Ocean Drive]

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