It could have been a scene from The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
But this time Cuba Gooding Jr is playing himself. The Oscar-Winning actor has been charged with allegedly groping a woman. CCTV footage from a New York City bar appears to show Gooding Jr touching the thigh of a woman.
The video, which surfaced on Thursday, is taken from the Magic Hour Rooftop Lounge in midtown Manhattan. It shows Gooding Jr with his girlfriend, Claudine De Niro, at around 10.15pm on Sunday. The two are seen sitting on a couch when the accuser takes a seat next to De Niro.
The camera catches Gooding – almost immediately – reaching across De Niro’s body and placing his hand on the accuser’s left thigh.
It seems as if Gooding runs his right hand up the woman’s torso and touch her breast.
The woman appears to then grab Gooding’s hand as if to make him stop. Gooding then pulls the woman’s hand toward his mouth and kisses it.
Gooding faces one misdemeanor account of forcible touching – the charge faces a year in prison.
Gooding’s attorney, Mark J. Heller, said he was “completely confident that (Gooding) will be totally exonerated.”
He told reporters that Gooding will enter a not guilty plea at an initial court appearance.
“There is not a scintilla of criminal culpability that can be attributed to Cuba Gooding Jr,” Heller told reporters.
Heller accused the woman who lodged the complaint against Gooding last weekend of seeking “simply to get their 15 minutes of fame.”
Gooding, who was seen has been taken to court in handcuffs, arrived back in New York City on Thursday morning.
He was seen arriving at the Special Victims Unit in the early afternoon. The Jerry Maguire actor smirked as he entered the building with his lawyer.
Police then took him to court where he pleaded not guilty.
Gooding’s first accuser told cops that on Sunday night at a party at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar in midtown Manhattan, the star grabbed her breast.
She claims the incident happened after she brought him a glass of water because he was so drunk.
A second woman has since reported him to the police for allegedly grabbing her butt at Butter, a different nightspot, on another occasion.
“I trust the system and the process,” a confident Gooding told TMZ before boarding a flight in California to get back to the east coast on Wednesday night.
“There’s a tape that shows what really happens and that’s all.”
“I was at a club, I left, I met a bunch of people, I took pictures and… you have to have faith in what people say.”