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September 05, 2019

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr's Sexual Abuse Trial Postponed, Could Face a Year in Jail if Found Guilty

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Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s first day of trial for sexual abuse charges has been moved a month later. The prosecution team is reportedly not ready and filed a motion to delay.

Prosecutors in Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s sexual abuse case moved to delay the actor’s hearing which was expected to commence on September 3. 

According to CNN, the prosecution team from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is not ready for trial and cited this and incomplete evidence as reasons for the delay. The new trial date has been moved to October 10.

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THE ACCUSATION

Gooding is currently being accused of sexually abusing a 29-year-old woman. The alleged incident occurred at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in Manhattan back in June. The woman claims the actor groped her breasts forcibly in spite of her protesting. She later reported the incident via 911.

Another woman came forward shortly before Gooding surrendered to the police in June. The woman, blogger and comedian Claudia Oshry claimed the actor molested her back in 2012.

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GOODING'S DEFENSE

Gooding surrendered to authorities for questioning following the complaint. He pled not guilty to the misdemeanor charges of forcible touching and sex abuse in the third degree. Shortly after, the 51-year-old was released on his own recognizance.

Gooding’s laywer, Mark Heller is confident his client will be absolved of guilt judging from footage from the night of the incident obtained from the bar. 

“There is not a scintilla of criminal culpability that can be attributed to Mr. Cuba Gooding Jr. after I have extensively, with my staff, reviewed the video of almost two hours which reflects the entire event," he told the press in June.

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Heller filed a motion to dismiss the case earlier in the summer citing the accuser's mental instability as the reason. On August 9, Judge Phyllis Chu ruled against it. 

Last month, he again stressed his client’s innocence saying, "I am totally confident that when a jury of Cuba Gooding Jr.'s peers assess all of the exculpatory evidence in this case, that he will be totally exonerated.”

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After the trial’s postponement, Heller told media outlets outside the courthouse that he believes the case is a result of Gooding’s celebrity status.  

A REJECTED MOTION TO DISMISS

Heller filed a motion to dismiss the case earlier in the summer citing the accuser's mental instability as the reason. On August 9, Judge Phyllis Chu ruled against it. She claimed conflicting briefs from both sides and grainy video footage from the night in question led her to rule in favor of pursuing a trial. If Gooding is convicted, he stands to face up to one year in jail. 

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ANOTHER ACCUSER COMES FORWARD

Meanwhile, another woman came forward shortly before Gooding surrendered to the police in June. The woman, blogger and comedian Claudia Oshry claimed the actor molested her back in 2012.  He "put his finger up my butt," she told listeners of her podcast, "The Morning Toast." She also said she was only 16 years old at the time. 

Heller denied Oshry's accusations and even said that his client claimed not knowing her. The podcast host later told Entertainment Tonight that five other women she contacted can attest to similar sexual misconduct encounters with the actor. 

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