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Cuba Gooding Jr. charged with groping woman at NYC club

American actor, Cuba Gooding Jr. at the New York premiere of \"Rocketman\", Photo Date: 5/29/2019

By MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Cuba Gooding Jr. was arrested Thursday and charged with forcible touching after a woman accused him of groping her at a New York City night spot.

Gooding, 51, was charged after turning himself in to investigators in the New York Police Department's special victims division. He remained in police custody and was expected to be arraigned later in the day.

Gooding's lawyer, Mark Heller, said security video from Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge showed no criminality on his part and will exonerate him.

"There is not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct on his part," Heller said.

A 29-year-old woman told police the Oscar-winning "Jerry Maguire" star grabbed her breast while he was intoxicated around 11:15 p.m. Sunday.

Gooding denies the allegations.

After reviewing the security video, Heller said he was hesitant to let Gooding surrender but decided to go through with it. He said he was surprised police and prosecutors were moving forward with the case.

The lawyer also disputed allegations in media reports from a second woman said to have come forward in recent days and told police that Gooding grabbed her buttocks at a New York City restaurant in 2008.

"There is no pattern of conduct," Heller said. "It is not uncommon for people to come out of the woodwork when these things happen."

Gooding was involved in another bar-related incident in New Orleans in 2012. In that case, a bartender said the actor was agitated with patrons who wanted photos with him and that he pushed her when she asked him to leave.

An arrest warrant was issued but the bartender declined to press charges.

As for Sunday night, Gooding told TMZ that he was at Magic Hour partying with friends but didn't touch anyone. He said there's a video that shows "what really happened."

"I trust the system and will let the process speak for itself," Gooding said.

Videos posted on social media show Gooding at the Manhattan bar Sunday night singing the Journey hit "Faithfully" and posing for pictures with fans.

The bar, on the roof of the Moxy Hotel south of Times Square, features a mini-golf course and sweeping views of the Empire State Building and other Big Apple landmarks.

Gooding, a Bronx native, rose to fame after starring in "Boyz N the Hood" in 1991.

Six years later, he won an Oscar for his role as a professional football player in "Jerry Maguire." His signature line, "Show me the money," became a popular catchphrase.

Gooding was nominated for an Emmy Award last year for playing O.J. Simpson in the FX series "The People v. O.J. Simpson" and recently appeared on Broadway and London's West End as lawyer Billy Flynn in "Chicago."

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Associated Press writer Kiley Armstrong contributed to this report.

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