Cuba Gooding Jr. to face civil rape trial in NYC today

Cuba Gooding Jr. is slated to face trial in Manhattan today over a lawsuit alleging he raped a woman twice at a Soho hotel a decade ago.

The “Jerry Maguire” actor, 55, was sued in Manhattan federal court in 2020 by a woman claiming he sexually assaulted her in a room at the Mercer Hotel on Aug. 24, 2013.

The trial — expected to last between three to four days — was set to begin at 10 a.m.

It comes after Gooding struck a no-jail plea deal with Manhattan prosecutors last year in his sex abuse case.

Nine people, including including Gooding and his accuser, are listed as potential witnesses, court papers show.

Cuba Gooding Jr. in court.
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. will face a civil rape trial beginning today.
Steven Hirsch

The case is expected to rise and fall on whether the jury finds the encounter was consensual — as Gooding doesn’t deny that they had sex but maintains they both engaged in it willingly.

The woman — who filed suit anonymously under the name Jane Doe — claimed that she met the actor in the VIP section of since-shuttered Greenwich Village lounge Le Souk where they chatted before he invited her for drinks at his hotel.

The pair took a cab to the Soho hotel and then had shots before Gooding asked her up to his room so he could change his clothes, the suit alleged.

But once in the room, the actor — who starred in FX’s “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story” — put on music by Mumford & Sons and began stripping down in front of her, all while she said she wanted to go back down to the hotel bar, the suit claimed.

Gooding then began groping her breasts under her top despite the woman telling him no several times and then he raped her, the suit alleged.

Cuba Gooding Jr. in court.
Gooding is accused in a lawsuit of raping a woman in the Mercer Hotel in 2013.
Steven Hirsch

At least three other Gooding accusers are expected to take the stand to bolster the woman’s case by showing her claims are credible since the actor has a history of alleged sexual misconduct.

The alleged victim in the case, was ordered by Manhattan federal Judge Paul Crotty to refile her lawsuit revealing her identity by noon Monday — which she failed to do.

Crotty said that proceeding to trial as a Jane Doe would be prejudicial to Gooding and could confuse a jury.

Gooding has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 30 women.

The star was given a no-jail plea deal last year on six counts of sexual abuse for allegedly groping three women in separate incidents in Manhattan.

At least one of the women, Kelsey Harbert — who claimed he groped her breast at a rooftop bar — is slated to testify in the civil trial.

The judge barred another accuser, Natasha Ashworth. from testifying in the plaintiff’s case. The judge found that the four accusers’ testimony is sufficient and that having a fifth would be cumulative.

Ashworth won a default judgment against Gooding for $80,000 over her claims that he pinched her butt while she was bartending at Tao Downtown Nightclub in October 2019.

Gooding failed to respond to that case prompting the default judgment in Ashworth’s favor.

Kelsey Harbert leaving court with her lawyer Gloria Allred.
One of the women in a prior criminal case against Gooding, Kelsey Harbert, is slated to testify for the plaintiff at trial.
Steven Hirsch

Gooding’s lawyers plan to call the former co-owners of Le Souk, Lamia Funti and Marcus Andrews, to testify about how the woman returned to the lounge and allegedly bragged about having sex with a celebrity.

The lawyers claim this is important evidence to bolster their defense that the encounter was consensual.

Jury selection is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Plaintiff lawyer Gloria Allred declined to comment Monday. Gooding’s lawyers didn’t return a request for comment.

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