NEW YORK (AP) — A judge rejected Cuba Gooding Jr.’s bid to throw out his New York City groping case so he can continue working, saying Wednesday that she needed time to review written arguments and didn’t want to make a rash decision.
Judge Keisha Espinal said she wouldn’t rule on the actor’s request to dismiss the misdemeanor case until Aug. 14, dashing his and his lawyers’ hopes of swiftly scotching 2-week-old charges that he grabbed a woman’s breast at a Manhattan bar, which he denies.
The Oscar-winning “Jerry Maguire” star’s upcoming film projects could be in jeopardy if the case drags on and he has to shuttle between his Hollywood home and a Manhattan courthouse for hearings and a trial, defense lawyer Mark Heller argued.
“Mr. Gooding’s life is put on hold. It’s on a pause button,” Heller told Espinal during the 10-minute hearing. “It’s urgent that this matter be dismissed as quickly as possible.”
Swarmed by cameras outside the courthouse, Gooding smiled and nodded when asked whether he thought the case would ultimately be dismissed. He did not comment on the proceedings. Espinal ordered him to return for the August hearing.
As Gooding waited for his ride, a passerby yelled out a remix of his most famous movie line, shouting: “Show us the money, Cuba!”
Gooding, 51, is accused of placing his hand on a 29-year-old woman’s breast and squeezing it without her consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square on June 9. The woman told police she believed Gooding was intoxicated.
Gooding was arrested four days later after turning himself in to police. He pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges at a night arraignment and was released on his own recognizance after about six hours in police custody.