Cuba Gooding Jr: Oscar-winning actor pleads guilty to forcible touching

Plea agreement means the 'Jerry Maguire' star will not spend time in prison

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr in a New York courtroom on Wednesday. AP

Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanour count of forcibly touching a woman at a New York nightclub in 2018.

The guilty plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors that spares Gooding from any immediate jail time.

The plea, in which Gooding also admitted in court to subjecting two other women to "non-consensual physical contact" in 2018 and 2019, came three years after he was arrested, the Manhattan District Attorney said in a statement detailing the deal.

Under the agreement, if Gooding continues to undergo court-ordered counselling for six months, he can withdraw the misdemeanour plea and plead guilty to a lesser charge of harassment.

If he fails to comply, he faces up to a year in jail, the Manhattan DA's office said.

The actor was accused in a New York State Supreme Court indictment of violating three different women at various Manhattan night spots in 2018 and 2019.

He pleaded guilty to the most serious count charging him with forcibly kissing a woman at a nightclub in September 2018, a district attorney representative said.

"I apologise for ever making anybody feel inappropriately touched," The New York Times quoted Gooding as saying in court on Wednesday, when he entered his guilty plea.

Cuba Gooding Jr in New York Criminal Court in Manhattan, New York, in October 2021. Reuters

Gooding won the Academy Award as best supporting actor for his role as the volatile football player who becomes his agent's only client, famously demanding that Tom Cruise "show me the money", in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire.

He also portrayed OJ Simpson in the 2016 television miniseries The People v OJ Simpson.

Gooding faces a separate $6 million civil lawsuit from a woman who accused him of raping her twice in 2013 at the Mercer hotel in Manhattan's SoHo district. The actor has denied the allegations.

Updated: April 14, 2022, 3:55 AM