Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. has avoided appearing Tuesday in Manhattan federal court over a civil lawsuit filed by a woman who accuses him of raping her at a New York hotel in 2013. The star of Jerry Maguire, winner of an Oscar in 1996, had insisted through his lawyers that his encounter with the woman was consensual. The trial, by civil procedure, was to begin with the selection of the jury in court, and in fact its members began to meet in the courtroom minutes before an entry in the official record of the court informed at 10.24 of the annulment of the trial, by "consent [as] the parties have resolved the matter", although the details of the out-of-court settlement are unknown.
The woman had proceeded anonymously until last week, when Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled she would have to reveal her name at trial; the summary referred to her with the generic Jane Doe that consecrates the anonymity of female plaintiffs or witnesses. According to the lawsuit, she met Cuba Gooding Jr. at a Manhattan restaurant, and he convinced her to meet him at a hotel and wait for him in his room while he changed his clothes. The actor's lawyers, however, add not only that the relationship was allegedly consensual, but the fact that she later bragged to other people about her intimacy with a celebrity.
The plaintiff was seeking six million dollars in damages from a man who authorities say has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 30 women, including groping, forced kissing and other abusive behavior. Indeed, last Friday, Judge Crotty appeared to bolster the woman's position at trial and in settlement negotiations, deciding that she would allow three other women to testify that they were also subjected to sexual abuse or attempted sexual assault after meeting Gooding in social settings such as festivals. bars, nightclubs and restaurants. The magistrate disavowed the testimony of a fourth woman, who accuses the actor of having groped her breast, as redundant.
Gooding, hugely popular in the nineties thanks to films such as Boyz n the Hood and Radio, was allowed to plead guilty in April 2022 to a misdemeanor in another case, admitting that he forcibly kissed a female worker at a New York nightclub in 2018. After six months of behavioral rehabilitation and alcohol use, Gooding then withdrew his initial guilty plea and instead pleaded guilty to that misdemeanor, expunging his criminal record and avoiding further penalties.
As in the case of former President Donald Trump, sentenced last month to compensate a woman with five million dollars for sexual abuse and defamation, the civil route of the process against Cuba Gooding Jr. was not going to result in a prison sentence, but only in monetary compensation. The prospects for a settlement, which often avoids trial in civil cases, appeared dim last Thursday because of deep differences between the litigants.