Now facing yet another indictment, today’s start of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s trial on criminal charges of forcible touching has been postponed a further five days.
A circumspect Manhattan Assistant D.A. Jenna Long told Judge Marisol Martinez Alonso today that allegations of a separate “incident” had been put before the grand jury – the resulting indictment covers the previous charge and incorporates the new one. Whether or not, this new charge is connected to the additional investigation into the Oscar winner that prosecutors said in late June that the NYPD was conducting isn’t known.
What we do know for sure from Gooding’s short stint in New York state court this morning in Manhattan is that the new charge will be unsealed when the trial finally starts on October 15.
“The new charge is an unsubstantiated allegation from a long time ago,” declared defense attorney Mark Heller in a statement after Thursday’s hearing on the sexual assault matter.
“What they have done here is taken this case which they are not prepared to move forward to trial into the grand jury which they can do without the original accuser and use that as a strategy to delay and prolong the case for an additional period of time,” the lawyer asserted of Cyrus Vance Jr’s office. “They are simply doing this to continue the process.”
In the second delay in a trial, this new indictment is just the latest turn in the matter of Gooding supposedly grabbing a woman’s breast at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge in the Moxy Times Square hotel on June 9. Under the previous misdemeanor charge, the not guilty pleading Gooding could face up to a year in jail.
It is presumed that the new charge increases the jail time possibilities for the actor who played O.J. Simpson in FX’s American Crime Story.
The 1996 Best Supporting Actor winner turned himself into the NYPD’s Special Victim’s Unit on June 13 and was formally charged. The defense put forth a since-rejected motion to dismiss earlier this summer based on “certain mental characteristics” of the accuser.
Back on September 3 at a scheduled hearing on jury selection, Long and fellow prosecutors from the New York County D.A.’s office informed the judge they were still waiting for more evidence in the matter and were not ready for trial after all. That pushed the trial start date to today. Clearly today saw the pause button hit again – as what was perhaps that additional evidence paid off in front of the grand jury.
We’ll know next Tuesday.