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Cuba Gooding, Jr. avoids jail time after pleading guilty to lesser charge

No jail for actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
No jail for actor Cuba Gooding Jr. 02:24

NEW YORK -- No jail time for Cuba Gooding, Jr. 

The actor complied with a conditional plea agreement in his forcible touching case allowing him to plead guilty to a lesser charge of harassment. 

Thursday, three accusers addressed the court, expressing outrage over the deal. 

CBS2's Alice Gainer was in the courtroom. 

Gooding, Jr. made a swift and silent exit from the courtroom. Moments prior, he decline to speak before sentencing. 

"There was no need to further address them today," said defense attorney Frank Rothman. "He apologized the day he plead guilty." 

Rothman's referring back to April, when the 54-year-old pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he forcible kissed a worker at a nightclub in 2018. But under the plea deal, so long as he met the requirements, he could withdraw that and plead to a lesser charge of harassment, which is what he did Thursday. 

A victim impact statement from that worker said Gooding "saw minimal repercussions" while his victims dealt with the aftermath of his actions. 

Cuba Gooding Jr.'s accuser speaks after plea deal reached 22:33

"The message he got today is that because of who he is the rules are different for him," said accuser Kelsey Harbert. 

Gooding, Jr. was arrested in June 2019, after Kelsey Harbert told police he groped her at a rooftop bar in Midtown. Dozens of other allegations against the actor poured in. 

He was initially charged with groping and forcibly kissing three women. 

Prosecutors wanted to present testimony at trial from more than a dozen women who were not part of the criminal case to show a pattern of alleged bad behavior by the Oscar winner. The judge was going to allow two, but then reversed the decision. 

So instead of going to trial, they reached a plea deal dismissing two of the three charges, which included Harbert's accusation. 

"It appears to be a prosecutorial gift to a celebrity who is undeserving of such an outcome," said Harbert's attorney Gloria Allred. 

Prosecutors noted Gooding, Jr. completed six months of alcohol and behavior modification counseling and stayed out of trouble. 

As part of his plea deal, Gooding, Jr. was sentenced to time served. His attorney says he's continuing therapy.

Rothman was asked if his client was still drinking. 

"Not that I'm aware of, but that's not for me to say," he said. 

"Despite the harm to me, Cuba Gooding, Jr. walks away from the court a free man without a record. It's like it never happened. But can the same thing be said for the women he did this to?" Harbert said. 

If the actor had failed to comply with the terms of the deal, he would have faced up to a year behind bars. 

The Manhattan DA's office has not commented. 

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