Gooding Jr. will turn himself in to the New York City Police Department on Thursday, according to a report by TMZ. Sources close to the Oscar-winning actor said that he plans to go straight to the authorities once he is back on the east coast, and he will be booked on a misdemeanor charge of forcible touching. However, when approached by a reporter in the airport, Gooding Jr. said that he "absolutely" did not touch the accuser inappropriately.
"I trust the system. The system and the process speaks for itself," Gooding Jr. said. "There's a tape that shows what really happened. That's the most important thing."
Gooding Jr. was at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar in lower Manhattan on Sunday night, where he was photographed hanging out with friends and fans. A woman whom he met now claims that he grabbed her breast without consent, but Gooding Jr. insists that that is not the case — not even by accident or misunderstanding.
"I was at the club, I left," went his version of events. "I met a bunch of people, I said hello, I took pictures, and... You know, you have to have faith in what people say... In this time and age we have to let people speak for themselves. We have to let people express themselves."
Gooding Jr. made it clear that he has no interest in silencing his accuser or coming down hard against the allegations. He is counting on the legal system to prove his innocence.
"Now, I'm giving the process the chance to show what really happened, what went down," he said confidently.
Gooding Jr. did not take any of the more direct questions, speculating about how the accuser might have come to a different conclusion than him about their interaction. Twice, he asked the reporter to focus less on the case about him and more on Jon Stewart's stirring speech about 9/11 first responders on Tuesday.
"Let nothing take away from what Jon Stewart said about our first responders. That's the first, most important thing," he said.
The cameraman even offered Gooding Jr. some strategies on how to interact with fans more safely, but the actor did not want to discuss that either. Before leaving, he offered one sage piece of advice he has carried for his whole life.
"You know what I say? My mama taught me this a long time ago: 'God's Will be done.' Thank you."
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