Cuba Gooding Jr.'s rape accuser cites E. Jean Carroll's case against Trump, saying other alleged victims should testify

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in New York State Criminal Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S.., October 10, 2019. Alec Tabak/Pool via REUTERS
Cuba Gooding Jr. doesn't want other accusers to testify at his upcoming rape trial.Reuters
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. is set to face a civil trial next month over a rape allegation.

  • His accuser wants a judge to allow four other women testify about being sexually assaulted by Gooding Jr.

  • The actor's lawyers say the women's stories aren't similar enough to be allowed at trial.

Cuba Gooding Jr.'s rape accuser is fighting to get a judge to allow four other women who say they were also sexually assaulted by the actor to testify at his upcoming trial. If she's victorious, she'll have E. Jean Carroll to thank.

An anonymous woman, referred to as Jane Doe in court documents, is suing Gooding Jr. for gender-motivated violence, claiming the actor raped her in a New York City hotel room in August 2020. Gooding Jr. has denied the allegation and a trial is scheduled for next month in Manhattan federal court.

In court filings on Tuesday, both sides made their arguments on whether or not the four other women who have accused Gooding Jr. of sexual misconduct should be allowed to take the stand.

Kelsey Harbert, Remona Biddle-Jackson, Shannon Lunsford, and an anonymous fourth woman — identified in court documents as Jane Doe #2 — all claim that Gooding Jr. inappropriately touched them in public places.

Jane Doe's lawyers heavily cite the case law in E. Jean Carroll's recently successful defamation and battery lawsuit against former President Donald Trump as basis for why the four women should get to tell their stories.

Carroll's lawsuit stemmed from the claim that Trump raped Carroll in a Bergdorf Goodman changing room in the mid-1990s. The judge allowed two other women to testify in the case about experiencing similar behavior from Trump. Natasha Stoynoff testified about Trump forcibly kissing her at Mar-a-Lago, and Jessica Leeds said Trump sexually assaulted her on a flight from Texas to New York.

But Gooding Jr.'s lawyers said that in this case, the stories of the plaintiff and the four other women aren't similar enough to warrant the others testifying.

Gooding Jr.'s lawyers says one of the big differences between Doe's claim and the other four women's claims is that Doe says she was attacked in private, while the other encounters with the other women happened in public spaces.

"Though Plaintiff and Defendant unquestionably met, drank, and flirted with one another in a public downtown bar and lounge, Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant ever touched her inappropriately while they were out in public," Gooding Jr.'s lawyers wrote.

Doe's lawyers countered that argument in court filings on Monday, drawing specific attention to the judge's ruling in Carroll, which downplayed the differences in location for the three alleged assaults by Trump — on an airplane, in his home, and in a department store — and gave more weight to the common theme the three women reported. In each of those cases, Trump was accused of suddenly getting sexually aggressive after meetings that were at first friendly and benign.

"In finding similarity sufficient to allow both women to testify, the court emphasized that '[i]n each case, the alleged victim claims that [the defendant] suddenly attacked her sexually,' and minimized the fact that one was done in private whereas the other was done in public," Doe's lawyers wrote on Monday. "The same circumstances exist here."

The trial is set to start eight months after Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of forcible touching in Manhattan criminal court, and was handed down a sentence that allowed him to evade any jail time.

That case was based on allegations that he inappropriately touched three women at new York nightclubs in 2018 and 2019, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

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