Cuba Gooding Jr. walked free without bail after pleading not guilty to charges of sexual abuse Thursday evening — but not before offering a bizarre show of support for shooting victim and former baseball star David Ortiz.
“It’s been a long day,” the Bronx-born actor told hordes of reporters as he left Manhattan criminal court, minutes after being arraigned for allegedly groping a woman at a rooftop bar in Midtown.
Gooding said nothing, but nodded vigorously when asked whether he denied the charges of sexual abuse and forcible touching levied against him by prosecutors.
Pressed whether he had anything else to add, Gooding — who won an Oscar for playing a hot-shot athlete in “Jerry Maguire” — extended well wishes to a real-life sports star: retired Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
“Get well, Big Papi!” said Gooding, using the nickname of Ortiz, who was wounded in an attempted hit Sunday in his native Dominican Republic.
During the arraignment itself, Gooding, 51, wore a sour expression but said nothing as his lawyer, Mark J. Heller, entered a not guilty plea on the actor’s behalf.
Gooding is accused of grabbing a fellow clubgoer’s breast during a boozy Sunday night at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge on Seventh Avenue near West 36th Street, according to police.
He surrendered to sex crimes detectives at Manhattan’s Special Victims Division headquarters on Thursday.
Gooding has denied the allegations, with Heller insisting that surveillance video from that evening will exonerate his client.
He’s due back in court on June 26.
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