Cuba Gooding Jr. was hit with new charges on Thursday after showing up at court for possible jury selection for his groping trial.
The 51-year-old actor was already charged with forcible touching and misdemeanor sexual abuse for allegedly groping a woman’s breast at a nightclub in Manhattan in June. On Thursday, he showed up at court smiling with his attorneys but was hit with a sealed grand jury indictment.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has not shared details of the new charges, saying only that he has been ‘indicted on charges included in this docket as well as an additional incident previously uncharged.’
The new indictment was filed on Thursday morning, before Gooding Jr.’s 9.30am scheduled appearance.
Lawyers for the actor said nothing afterwards and he swiftly made his way into a waiting car after the brief appearance. It remains unclear if they knew about it beforehand. He had arrived in much higher spirits and waved at reporters before entering the courthouse.
The star will return to court on October 15th and the indictment will then be made public.
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Cuba Gooding Jr. raises his eyebrows as he sits in court on Thursday. He had shown up for his forcible touching trial but was hit with new charges in a sealed, grand jury indictment
Surveillance footage shows Gooding Jr. stroking his accuser’s leg and appearing to lean over his girlfriend, who was sitting between them, and reaching his hand toward her chest at the Magic Hour Rooftop in Manhattan in June
Gooding Jr., 51, was arrested in June after the 29-year-old woman, who has not been named, phoned police claiming that he grabbed her breast in front of his girlfriend while he was drunk at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar in Manhattan.
She alleged that Gooding Jr. groped her in front of his girlfriend, Claudine De Niro, and that he also felt her leg.
He has always denied it, saying that she tried to come on to him and called the police when he rejected her.
On Thursday, Gooding Jr. was the second defendant called by Judge Herb Moses after a different case.
He said nothing and did not react strongly when the new indictment was referred to.
It remains unclear whether or not his lawyers knew it was coming.
The District Attorney filed it on Thursday morning, shortly before the case was called.
One witness told DailyMail.com that Gooding Jr. was calm and ‘smiled’ at moments then quickly ‘scooted out’ when the hearing was over.
Gooding Jr. in court on Thursday. He previously pleaded not guilty to charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse
Gooding Jr. approaches the defense table with his attorney Mark Heller, who is yet to comment on the new charges
The star did not react as prosecutors announced the new charges. It is unclear if Gooding Jr’s legal team knew about them before hand
Gooding Jr. was emotionless as he walked out of the courtroom with his lawyer before getting into a waiting car
He breezed past reporters afterwards and hopped into a waiting SUV. His attorneys said nothing either.
They previously alleged in court documents that the original accuser approached him and his girlfriend when they were sitting at a table in the club and that he asked her to leave them alone.
They also alleged that police were called to the scene that night and after reviewing 45 minutes of footage, found nothing incriminating.
However prosecutors decided to push ahead with the case afterwards.
Surveillance footage of the incident, in which the actor is seen stroking the alleged victim’s thigh and then reaching over towards her chest, is likely to be submitted into evidence.
Confident on arrival: Cuba Gooding Jr smiles as he arrives at Manhattan Supreme Court with his attorney Mark Heller on Thursday to face forcible touching and sexual abuse charges
The 51-year-old actor pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this year. He faces 13 months in prison if convicted of the first two misdemeanors. It is unclear what charges the new, sealed indictment contains
Gooding Jr. is shown arriving at court on Thursday. He will return on October 15
It is unclear if the accuser will testify. Prosecutors are being tight-lipped about what evidence they plan to submit.
Gooding Jr.’s lawyer, Mark Heller, previously said the video footage will exonerate him.
They submitted a motion to dismiss the case earlier this year, claiming the woman – who they said had a ‘troubled mentality’.
‘I frankly am shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted.
‘Mr Gooding has not acted inappropriately in any shape or form.’
Heller claimed security videos would exonerate Gooding, adding: ‘Nothing in the video could even be considered ambiguous and I am shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted.’
The case was due to begin in September but it was delayed at the request of prosecutors who said they needed more time to collect video evidence.
Gooding was with his girlfriend, Claudine De Niro, when the alleged groping happened. They are pictured in December 2018. She is the former daughter-in-law of actor Robert De Niro