Cuba Gooding Jr was in a New York courtroom this morning for what was supposed to be the first day of the Oscar winner’s trial for groping a woman in a Manhattan nightclub in early June. Supposed to be, being the operative term.
Mere minutes into the scheduled hearing on jury selection, Deputy District Attorney Jenna Long and prosecutors from the New York County D.A.’s office said they were still waiting for more evidence in the matter and were not ready for trial. The proclamation saw the whole thing pushed back now until October 10, with Gooding walking out after a short stint in front of the judge.
The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story actor faces criminal charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse and could serve up to a year in jail if found guilty on the misdemeanor charges. He will likely get far less or not even see the inside of a cell.
“We believe the only reason he was arrested and prosecuted was because of his celebrity status,” Gooding’s lawyer Mark Heller told media outside the courthouse after the postponement was ordered Tuesday.
The plea for more time by prosecutors was hinted at by Heller in a statement the attorney released late last week.
“The Court Ordered the Trial to commence next Tuesday, September 3, 2019, although there is speculation of the Accuser’s lack of cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office,” said Heller on August 29. “The Defense and Cuba Gooding, Jr. will appear in Court and press to start the Trial as directed by the Court on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 considering that 77 days have elapsed since Cuba Gooding, Jr. was arrested,” the attorney added regarding his Jerry Maguire star client.
The 1996 Best Supporting Actor winner turned himself into the NYPD’s Special Victim’s Unit on June 13 and was formally charged. Gooding has denied the claims since they became public. The defense put forth a since-rejected motion to dismiss earlier this summer based on “certain mental characteristics” of the accuser.
With briefs from both sides and grainy video footage from the night in question, Judge Phyllis Chu ruled on August 9 that conflicting accounts about what actually happened at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge on June 9 are grounds for a trial.