Tuesday June 6, 2023 – Cuba Gooding Jr. has settled a 2020 lawsuit brought against him by a woman who claimed the Oscar-winner assaulted her in a New York City hotel a decade ago.
The Jerry Maguire star faced allegations that he met the woman at a restaurant in Manhattan, persuaded her to join him at the Mercer Hotel in the Soho section of Manhattan and stop at his room so he could change clothing.
She said in her lawsuit Gooding then raped her anally and vaginally. The encounter occurred in 2013.
The trial was to start on Tuesday with jury selection in New York federal court. The woman had proceeded anonymously until last week, when Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled that she would have to reveal her name at trial.
The actor had insisted through lawyers that his encounter with the woman was consensual after the two met at a nearby restaurant – and that she bragged to others afterward that she had sex with a celebrity. That evidence was never made public.
The trial was scheduled to begin at 10 am on Tuesday, but at 10:24am it was announced in legal documents that ‘the parties have resolved the matter.’ The exact terms of the settlement have not been released.
The lawsuit sought $6 million in damages.
The accuser said she met Gooding at the Gooding at Le Souk lounge, where they chatted and eventually went back to his hotel room. Once in his hotel room, the woman said that Gooding took off his clothes, put on music, and then began to fondle her.
She says that she told him ‘no’ but Gooding continued to touch her and eventually raped her.
The lawsuit was filed against a man who authorities say has been accused of committing sexual misconduct against more than 30 other women, including groping, unwanted kissing, and other inappropriate behaviour.
Late last week, the judge ruled that he would let three women testify that they also were subjected to sudden sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults after meeting Gooding in social settings such as festivals, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
One of the women who had planned to testify at the trial was Kelsey Harbert, who told police Gooding fondled her without her consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square in 2019.
In total, nine people including Gooding and Harbert was set to testify at trial.
Harbert said last year after Gooding pleaded guilty in New York state court to a charge that spared him from jail or a criminal history that never getting her day in court was ‘more disappointing than words can say.’
Gooding was permitted to plead guilty in April 2022 to a misdemeanor, admitting that he forcibly kissed a worker at a New York nightclub in 2018.
By staying out of trouble and completing six months of alcohol and behavioral counseling, Gooding was permitted to withdraw his guilty plea and plead guilty to a non-criminal harassment violation, eliminating his criminal record and preventing further penalties.