Cuba Gooding Jr pleads not guilty to assault charges

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Cuba Gooding Jr pleaded 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.

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.

“We are shocked, outraged and absolutely dumbfounded that the district attorney’s office has wasted the taxpayers’ money, resources and time in charging Cuba with these two incredulous cases,” defense attorney Mark Heller said following the arraignment.

“We ask that this case be moved quickly because Cuba’s life has been put on hold for four months. And the United States Constitution guarantees a speedy trial,” Heller added.

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, 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. Heller said he hoped Gooding’s case would be a “hallmark case for the ‘not me’ 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.