Actor Cuba Gooding Jr calls for groping case to be dismissed

New York (AFP) –


Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr, who is accused of groping a woman in a Manhattan bar, on Wednesday called for the case to be thrown out of a New York court.

Gooding's lawyer told a judge that footage from the bar's security cameras clearly showed his client is innocent, and said a trial could jeopardize Gooding's future Hollywood projects.

"Mr Gooding's life is put on hold. It's on a pause button," said attorney Mark Heller, quoted by CBS News. "It's urgent that this matter be dismissed as quickly as possible."

But New York State criminal court judge Keshia Espinal said she needed more time to make a decision on the request, and told the prosecution to respond in writing by July 17.

Gooding could face up to a year in prison if convicted of forcible touching.

Several US media outlets reported that a woman claimed Gooding, a native New Yorker, grabbed her breast during a night out.

Other reports indicate a second woman has come forward with claims that the actor groped her buttocks in March 2008, also in a Manhattan club.

The 51-year-old actor was arrested on June 13 after turning himself into police. He was released later that day without bail.

At the 10-minute hearing Wednesday, defense attorney Heller handed a copy of the bar footage to Espinal.

Prosecutor Jenna Long presented a two-paragraph written statement from the alleged victim assuring the judge that her complaint is true.

The judge set Gooding's next court appearance for August 14, a spokesman for the Manhattan prosecutor's office told AFP.

Gooding won an Academy Award in 1997 for his performance as a football player in "Jerry Maguire."

He recently played OJ Simpson in "The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story."