Cuba Gooding Jr. settles civil case of sexual abuse and avoids trial

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. settled allegations that he raped a woman in a New York City hotel a decade ago, according to court records. Tuesday’s disclosure came as a federal court trial was scheduled to begin.

The Oscar-winning star “Jerry Maguire” had insisted through his lawyers that his meeting with the woman was consensual after the two met at a nearby restaurant.

The actor faced allegations that he met the woman in Manhattan, convinced her to meet him at a hotel, and convinced her to stop by his room so he could change clothes.

The woman had been proceeding anonymously until last week, when Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled that she would have to reveal her name at trial. She said in her lawsuit that Gooding raped her in her bedroom. However, her lawyers insisted that it was consensual sex and that she later bragged to others that she had had sex with a celebrity.

The suit sought $6 million in damages. Gloria Allred, one of several attorneys representing the woman, declined to comment with CBS News about the reported settlement.

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The trial was to begin with jury selection in federal court in New York. Minutes after jurors began assembling in a courtroom, a calendar entry in the official court record read: “TRIAL ENDS.” It added: “Reason for cancellation (by consent): The parties have resolved the matter.”

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 conduct.

Late last week, the judge appeared to strengthen the woman’s hand at trial and in settlement negotiations by ruling that he would allow three women to testify that they were also subjected to sudden sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults after meeting a Gooding in social settings such as festivals, bars, clubs 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.

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Harbert said last year after Gooding pleaded guilty in a New York state court to a charge that saved him from jail or a criminal record that never getting his day in court was “more disappointing than words they can say”.

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