Fri, 22 Sep 2023

MANHATTAN (CN) - Averting a #MeToo trial in federal court just as jury selection was set to begin, Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. reached a last-minute private settlement on Tuesday with a woman who accused him of raping her 10 years ago at The Mercer hotel in SoHo.

A U.S. District Court spokesperson sent an email on Tuesday morning, half an hour into the scheduled start of jury selection in the trial, with the subject "Doe v. Gooding, Jr., - Action resolved," which announced simply: "There will be no trial in the above matter."

Gooding Jr.'s attorneys did not immediately respond to request for comment on Tuesday morning.

Gooding Jr., who famously shouted, "Show me the money," in the 1996 movie "Jerry Maguire," previously dodged potential jail time for sex crimes in Manhattan Supreme Court after he pleaded guilty last year to a lesser misdemeanor charge that he forcibly kissed a worker at a New York nightclub in 2018.

In that criminal case, Manhattan prosecutors noted that 30 other women had come forward to accuse the 55-year-old actor of unwanted touching, often in nightclubs and bars.

His civil court accuser filed the federal complaint anonymously in 2020, including graphic details of alleged forced penetration in 2013 after she told Gooding Jr. no and pushed away his advances.

Lawyers for the actor insisted, though, that it was consensual sex and that the woman known in court documents as Jane Doe bragged afterward to others that she had sex with a celebrity.

Just last week, Doe's anonymity came into question when U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled that she would have to reveal her name at trial.

Attorneys for Gooding Jr. slipped up twice at a pretrial hearing last week and repeated Doe's last name in open court.

The accuser, represented by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, sought a jury trial, as well as $6 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Allred, a famed feminist attorney whose clients in sexual abuse and harassment cases often take private settlements, declined to comment on Tuesday morning on the confidential settling of the suit.

Last month a civil trial jury in the same federal district court found former President Donald Trump liable for sexual battery against columnist E. Jean Carroll and ordered him to pay $5 million in damages.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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