Jerry Maguire star Cuba Gooding Jr., 54, pleaded guilty to one count of forcible touching in a criminal case on April 13, nearly three years after he was accused of violating three different women at various NYC nightspots in 2018 and 2019, according to Variety. The single guilty plea comes after Cuba’s 2019 arrest in the case that went through several delays, as his lawyers fought to get the charges reduced or dropped altogether. The case had previously been scheduled to go to trial at least twice, but a surge in COVID-19 cases in April 2020 caused most court cases to get delayed.
Cuba was arrested in June 2019, after a 29-year-old woman claimed he squeezed her breast without her consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square. Then, just a few months later, he was charged in two more cases as more women came forward, accusing him of abuse. One charge alleged he pinched a woman’s butt after making a sexually suggestive remark to her at TAO Downtown, and another claimed he forcibly touched a woman inappropriately at the LAVO New York nightclub — both incidents allegedly occurred in 2018.
Cuba pleaded guilty to the LAVO nightclub allegation. Page Six claims the actor took this plea deal so he could stay out of jail and keep working. A source further told the outlet that he’ll have to apologize to two women he was accused of groping. HollywoodLife has reached out to Cuba’s rep and lawyer for a statement.
Prior to this guilty plea, Cuba had pleaded not guilty to six misdemeanor counts and denied all allegations of wrongdoing. The actor’s lawyers tried arguing that “overzealous prosecutors, caught up in the fervor of the #MeToo movement” tried to turn “commonplace gestures” or misunderstandings into crimes, according to WKBN 27. However, the judge in the case ruled that if there ended up being a trial, prosecutors could have called two additional women to testify about their own allegations, in which they claimed Cuba also violated them. Those claims did not end up resulting in criminal charges, but they were among 19 other accusers who prosecutors were working to call as witnesses, according to The New York Times.
Aside from this criminal case, Cuba is facing another lawsuit from August 2020, in which he was accused of raping a woman in NYC in 2013. He’s currently fighting that allegation.
Cuba, who won the Oscar for supporting actor in 1996 after co-starring in Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise, has also starred in Boyz n the Hood, Men of Honor, Pearl Harbor and more. He also played O.J. Simpson in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story in 2016.