Cuba Gooding Jr. off the hook as prosecutors drop battery case
Prosecutors in New Orleans won't pursue misdemeanor battery charges against Cuba Gooding Jr. after the female bartender who accused the Los Angeles-based actor of shoving her twice at a popular Bourbon Street establishment decided not to pursue charges.
Prosecutors opted to dismiss the matter because of the victim, an employee at New Orleans' well known Old Absinthe Bar, did not want to continue as the complaining witness, a city spokesman said.
Under New Orleans law, pursuing such a case is not viable without witness cooperation, the spokesman said.
Police had issued a battery arrest warrant after the bartender told officers the actor entered the bar with a group in the early morning hours Tuesday and became "very aggravated" after other customers recognized the Oscar winner and asked him to pose for photos with them.
When the bartender approached Gooding and asked him to calm down, the actor pushed her away with an open hand, she told police. One of the bartender’s coworkers then called 911 about 3 a.m., police said.
On Wednesday the bar announced the woman would not be pressing charges.
"It is our understanding the employee involved in the alleged altercation has chosen to drop all charges against Mr. Cuba Gooding Jr.," the bar said in the statement. "While we continue to investigate this matter internally, we are hopeful that this will put an end to the matter."
Gooding's attorney in New York, Peter Toumbekis, had contacted New Orleans police on behalf of his client Tuesday afternoon after New Orleans officials issued the arrest warrant.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Cuba Gooding Jr., center, arrives with his sons for "The Amazing Spider-Man" premiere last month in Westwood. Credit: Michael Nelson / EPA