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File photo of Cuba Gooding Jr in court in January 2020. Alamy Stock Photo

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr settles New York rape lawsuit, averting civil trial

The actor had insisted through lawyers that his encounter with the woman was consensual after the two met at a nearby restaurant.

CUBA GOODING JR has settled a case with a woman who claimed he raped her in a New York City hotel a decade ago, according to court records, averting a trial that was about to begin.

The actor had insisted through lawyers that his encounter with the woman was consensual after the two met at a nearby restaurant.

The trial was to start with jury selection in New York federal court as the Oscar-winning Jerry Maguire star faced allegations that he met the woman in Manhattan, persuaded her to join him at a hotel, and convinced her to stop at his room so he could change clothing.

Minutes after jurors were to begin assembling in a courtroom, a calendar entry in the official court record said: “TRIAL OFF.”

It added: “Reason for cancellation (on consent): the parties have resolved the matter.”

The woman had proceeded anonymously until last week, when Judge Paul A Crotty ruled that she would have to reveal her name at trial.

She alleged in her lawsuit that Gooding Jr raped her in his room.

His lawyers, though, insisted that it was consensual sex and that she bragged afterwards to others that she had sex with a celebrity.

The lawsuit sought $6 million (€5.6 million) in damages.

Lawyer Gloria Allred, one of several representing the woman, declined to comment.

Other lawyers, including those representing Gooding Jr, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit was filed against a man who authorities say has been accused of committing sexual misconduct against more than 30 other women, including groping, unwanted kissing and other inappropriate behaviour.

Late last week, the judge seemed to strengthen the woman’s hand at trial and in settlement negotiations by ruling that he would let three women give evidence that they were also allegedly subjected to sudden sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults after meeting Gooding Jr in social settings such as festivals, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

One of the women who had planned to give evidence at the trial was Kelsey Harbert, who told police Gooding Jr fondled her without her consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square in 2019.

Harbert said last year after Gooding Jr pleaded guilty in New York state court to a charge that spared him from jail or a criminal history that never getting her day in court was “more disappointing than words can say”.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they grant permission, as Ms Harbert has done.

Gooding Jr, a star in films including Boyz N The Hood and Radio, was permitted to plead guilty in April 2022 to a misdemeanour, admitting that he forcibly kissed a worker at a New York nightclub in 2018.

By staying out of trouble and completing six months of alcohol and behavioural counselling, Gooding Jr was permitted to withdraw his guilty plea and plead guilty to a non-criminal harassment violation, eliminating his criminal record and preventing further penalties.

Press Association