Cuba Gooding Jr.’s attorney is planning to use statements the actor’s alleged groping victim has made online about her mental health to exonerate his client.
The “Jerry Maguire” star has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanour charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree following an incident at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge in New York on 9 June, when Gooding, Jr. allegedly grabbed a woman’s breast without her consent.
The 51-year-old, who was detained by police officials and released without bail, maintains he did nothing wrong during the encounter, insisting surveillance video footage from the night in question – when he was out with his girlfriend, Claudine De Niro – will prove his innocence.
Now Gooding, Jr.’s attorney, Mark Heller, has submitted new court papers highlighting comments the woman has previously made about her insecurities in blog posts online, after revealing she had been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, reports the New York Post’s Page Six.
“(I) basically learned that my brain was one big fat mess,” she allegedly wrote, according to documents submitted to Manhattan Criminal Court.
The female, whose name has not been released, went on to admit: “Being different always felt like I was begging to be rejected by a world that, it felt like, was always on the verge of kicking me off the cool kids’ table at any moment. And, in a world of extensions and fake boobs, my short haircut paired with my moderate breast size makes me feel invisible.”
“Some people are scared of others and want nothing more to be invisible. I am not that type of person. I am starving to be seen.”
Heller argues the comments suggest she has “certain mental characteristics” which may make her more likely to make false claims against a famous person just to attract attention.
In legal papers filed on Friday (June 22), Heller declared: “The Interests of Justice are SCREAMING OUT FOR THE EXONERATION OF CUBA GOODING, JR. and calling for a critical examination of this case and the Accuser whose personal blogs have included statements which clearly reveal the metamorphism of a troubled mentality.”
Pointing to her own blog posts, Heller continued, “(Her writing shows why) an individual with certain mental characteristics would be predisposed to make a false accusation against someone because, for example, they rejected her, or she was jealous of them or was envious of their fame.”
Heller has also secured affidavits from Gooding, Jr.’s girlfriend and pal Matthew Assante, who was also present at the time of the reported assault, supporting his request for dismissal.
In her witness statement, De Niro claimed she spotted the woman watching and following the couple around the bar, until she “ultimately, in essence” asked her to leave them alone.
Heller had previously accused the alleged victim of “stalking” the actor at the venue.
Gooding, Jr. is due back in court on Wednesday.
If convicted of the charges, he faces up to a year behind bars, in addition to three years of probation and a $1,000 (£800) fine.