Cuba Gooding Jr. Groping Trial Delayed to October


MANHATTAN (CN) — New York City prosecutors secured a one-month delay Tuesday of a nightclub-groping trial that had been set to begin this morning against the actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

Gooding’s attorney Mark J. Heller objected to the delay and said after the hearing that it speaks to weakness of the city’s case.

“The District Attorney’s Office was looking for a high-profile case, but I think they’ll be extremely embarrassed and disappointed when the end result is an outright dismissal which also reveal that the circumstances of his arrest and the charges were totally unfounded,” Heller told reporters outside Manhattan Criminal Court.

“Cuba is extremely confident that this case will be dismissed,” the attorney added.

Judge Herbert Moses set a trial date for Oct. 10 though the Heller & Heller lawyer had said at the hearing that the defense was prepared to proceed to trial.

Prosecutors brought the criminal complaint against Gooding in the spring, saying the actor placed his hand on a 29-year-old woman’s breast and squeezed it without her consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square on June 9.

The 51-year-old star of the 1990s hit movies “Jerry Maguire” and “Boyz n the Hood”  was arrested four days later after he turned himself in to the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit.

He pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges and was released on his own recognizance after about six hours in police custody.

New York Supreme Court Judge Phillyis Chu refused to toss the case last month. In her written ruling, the judge said a trial was the best place to resolve the conflicting accounts of the accusations against the Oscar-winning actor.

With that trial set to start today, New York Assistant District Attorney Jenna Long asked for more time because subpoenaed video footage is still forthcoming.

Gooding arrived to the fourth-floor courtroom around 9:55 am and waited in the gallery for 15 minutes before Judge Moses heard his case.

Gooding’s attorney said that video surveillance footage from the nightclub will exonerate the actor of any alleged wrongdoing.

After the judge urged the parties to communicate their discovery needs privately outside of open court, Heller remarked that he had found the District Attorney lawyers to be “unresponsive and uncooperative, and frankly, very rude.”

Heller told reporters that believed that prosecutors asked to delay the trial because the District Attorney was not prepared to bring a winnable case.

“In fact, it’s our perception that they are not the getting the cooperation of the complaining witness, who was not present today in court,” Heller said.

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