A New York City judge on Monday set a June trial date in Cuba Gooding Jr.’s $6 million civil rape case.
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Paul Crotty ordered Gooding and his anonymous accuser, referred to in court papers as Jane Doe, to be ready to start the trial during the first week of June.
Doe claims Gooding raped her twice inside the Mercer Hotel on Aug. 24, 2013 after inviting her and a friend back when they met in the VIP lounge of a Greenwich Village restaurant.
Doe’s lawyers had wanted to go to trial in 2024 because of scheduling conflicts.
“We’re not putting it off for a year,” Crotty said in court.
Gary Becker, a lawyer for the “Boyz n the Hood” actor, told the court that the incident was consensual and that Doe was “just simply lying.”
The actor’s lawyers said they plan to call two former owners of Le Souk, the now-shuttered bar where Doe and Gooding first met, and a female bartender. Becker alleged that Doe “bragged” to the bar staff about sleeping with a celebrity after the alleged assault.
Gooding’s lawyers in court demanded a copy of a police report Doe said she filed after retaining her attorneys and accused her of making it up in a deposition last year.
Doe’s lawyer Gloria Allred declined to comment when asked about the accusation.
The federal lawsuit claims that when Doe met Gooding at his hotel, he asked her to come upstairs while he changed his clothes “quick” before they met her friend. Doe claims that Gooding got naked once they got to his room, started playing Mumford & Sons on the sound system, and blocked her from leaving.
The complaint says Doe repeatedly told Gooding she wasn’t interested and tried to push his hands away as he forcibly groped her breasts and vagina. She alleges he pushed her onto the bed, “aggressively removed” her underwear and raped her without a condom.
She says he raped her a second time in quick succession after going to the bathroom.
Doe claims she left once Gooding fell asleep and returned to meet her friend. She is suing Gooding under New York’s Gender-Motivated Protection Law for $2 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages.
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The civil case against the 55-year-old “Jerry Maguire” actor, who didn’t attend Monday’s hearing, gains steam four months after his criminal case ended with what many of his accusers lamented as a slap on the wrist.
In October, the actor copped to a single harassment violation in his June 2019 criminal case, per the terms of a plea deal that allowed him to trade his previous guilty plea to forcible touching, wiping his criminal record.
The criminal case stemmed from allegations by three accusers. The plea deal required Gooding to admit to groping two of them in 2018 and 2019 without pleading guilty to related charges but saying “sorry” on the court record, in exchange for attending therapy and not getting arrested for six months.
At one stage in the case, prosecutors from the Manhattan DA’s office said they were in contact with at least 22 women who claimed they had been forcibly kissed, groped, sexually abused and threatened with professional ruin by Gooding, bringing the tally of his sex crimes accusers to 30.
Crotty in September 2021 dropped a default judgment he previously made in the federal suit in Doe’s favor based on Gooding purportedly ignoring the lawsuit. The judge found there was good cause to set aside the judgment and ordered Gooding to pay Doe $7,500 in lawyers’ fees.
One of the victims in the criminal case won a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit against Gooding last year when he refused to acknowledge the litigation.
Outside the courtroom on Monday, Gooding’s lawyer Edward Sapone said his client has “lots of faith” in the system “and can’t wait for his day in court.”
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