Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist
Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded not guilty to a forcible touching charge and sexual abuse in the third degree Thursday in New York City.
A 30-year-old woman accused Gooding Jr. of groping her Sunday night at a Manhattan bar, according to a report published by Fox News. Gooding Jr.’s defense lawyers entered the not guilty plea to the charges and reportedly asked for the process to be expedited.
The judge set the next court date for June 26.
Gooding Jr. and his attorney, Mark Heller, both have maintained that the “Boyz In The Hood” actor is innocent and point to video surveillance from the bar as evidence.
“There’s not a scintilla of criminal culpability that can be contributed to Mr. Cuba Gooding Jr.,” Heller told reporters. (RELATED: Cuba Gooding Jr. Charged With Forcible Touching, According To Police)
“I trust the system and will let the process speak for itself,” Gooding Jr. said to TMZ earlier this week.
Video surveillance obtained by TMZ reportedly tells a different story. In the video, Gooding Jr. is allegedly seen putting his hand on a woman’s thigh and then moving it up to her breast. It is unclear if the woman pushes his hand away or if he pulls her hand towards him.
Heller claimed the surveillance video “reveals that there was absolutely no criminal conduct and inappropriate conduct on the part of Cuba Gooding Jr., and it completely exonerates him from any criminal conduct.”