In a stunning last-minute move, a civil lawsuit accusing Cuba Gooding Jr. of raping a woman in 2013 was settled Tuesday just moments before jury selection was set to begin in Manhattan federal court.
“The jury trial scheduled to go forward today is off the calendar. Reason for cancellation (on consent): the parties have resolved the matter,” a docket entry in the August 2020 lawsuit against Gooding Jr. said on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the Southern District of New York also confirmed to The Daily Beast that “there will be no trial.”
While the details of the settlement between the actor and the woman identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe are not immediately clear, it comes just days after Judge Paul Crotty ordered her to reveal her identity in open court before trial. The settlement marks the end of the lawsuit for Jane Doe, who was seeking $6 million in damages against Gooding Jr., whom she alleged she met at a bar seven years prior and that he raped her in a hotel room.
Attorneys for Gooding Jr. did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Gloria Allred, the attorney representing Jane Doe, declined to comment.
The swift judgment also marks the second time that Gooding Jr. has evaded a jury since his legal problems began in 2019. While he was charged with six criminal misdemeanors—and prosecutors said nearly 30 other women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against the actor—he avoided a criminal trial last year after striking a plea deal.
Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to a harassment violation, and after completing an alcohol and behavior modification counseling course, walked away without a criminal record. He has steadfastly denied all allegations of wrongdoing, and his lawyers have previously slammed the lawsuit as “completely false and perjurious.”
“I apologize for making anybody ever feel inappropriately touched,” Gooding Jr. said last April as part of his deal with the government. “I am a celebrity figure. I come into contact with people. I never want them to feel slighted or uncomfortable in any way.”
The actor’s legal team was set to not only defend their client against Jane Doe’s lawsuit but the accusations of three other women who were expected to testify about the actor’s alleged misconduct.
Last week, Judge Crotty ruled that the three women, who accuse Gooding Jr. of misconduct between 2009 and 2019, have claims that are “sufficiently similar to Plaintiff’s allegations because all involve sudden sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults connected with the Defendant and victims’ presence in social settings prominently featuring drinking like festivals, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.”
The three women include Kelsey Harbert, whose claim that Gooding Jr. touched her at a bar in 2019 spurred the actor’s criminal case.
The lawsuit alleged that in August 2013, Jane Doe and her friend met Gooding Jr. while at a bar in downtown Manhattan and invited them to “join him and his friends at their…table.” Shortly after, Gooding Jr. allegedly told Jane Doe that his friends were going to The Mercer Hotel for drinks and once again offered for the two women to join them.
The woman alleged that she left the bar through the front entrance to join Gooding Jr. in a cab, understanding that her friends would meet her shortly. When they arrived at The Mercer, Gooding Jr. said he needed to “change his clothes” and ushered her to his hotel room on the fifth floor.
Inside the room, Gooding Jr. allegedly put on Mumford & Sons and “took a position between her and the hotel room door” before he “began taking his clothes off.” The lawsuit stated that Jane Doe told him “that she had to leave to meet her friend downstairs and began standing up from the edge of the bed where she was sitting and attempted to move toward the door.”
Gooding Jr. allegedly blocked her escape and pushed her onto the bed, before the lawsuit stated he took off his clothes and “forcibly and without consent put one hand in her halter top to touch” her breasts. The woman said she told the actor “no” and tried to push away his hands, but the lawsuit stated that Gooding Jr. ignored her and “forcibly stroked her genitals under her underwear.”
“At this point [Gooding Jr.] began physically aggressive and each time plaintiff pushed [Gooding Jr.]’s hands away, he forcibly placed them back on her,” the lawsuit stated, noting that she said no numerous times and was ignored.
The actor then allegedly raped her, the lawsuit stated, and did not use a condom. Afterward, Gooding Jr. allegedly went to the bathroom before returning to the bedroom while the woman was trying to escape. Gooding Jr. then allegedly raped her for a second time, this time anally, before he ejaculated and “fell asleep immediately.”
The lawsuit stated that she ran to the bathroom to clean herself before running out of the hotel room. She eventually met up with her friend again and went home. Gooding Jr.’s lawyers have previously argued that the incident was consensual.
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