“This indictment constitutes a distorted overreaction pandering to the current hypersensitive climate where innocent common-place gestures are now misperceived and mischaracterized as offensive as exemplified by the incredible condemnation of former Vice President Joseph Biden, who innocently touched a woman’s shoulder,” said defense lawyer Mark Jay Heller in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Heller gave the eyebrow-raising defense after the Oscar-winning actor was arraigned on four misdemeanor counts of sex abuse and forcible touching. He’s accused of squeezing a woman’s breast June 9 at a Midtown hotel bar and pinching another woman’s butt Oct. 24, 2018, at lower Manhattan nightclub TAO.
Police are investigating Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. for allegedly touching a woman inappropriately at a New York City nightclub in June 2019.
Biden landed in hot water in March after former Nevada politician Lucy Flores penned an op-ed for New York magazine, saying the former vice president and current presidential candidate made her feel “gross” when he grabbed her by the shoulders from behind and kissed her hair during a Las Vegas campaign event.
Three other women came forward and said that Biden had touched them inappropriately — including by giving one an Eskimo kiss and placing his hand on another’s thigh. Biden, however, was never accused of groping a woman’s breast or buttocks.
Heller called the Manhattan DA’s case against Gooding “incredibly weak.” Assistant DA Jenna Long said at the hearing that prosecutors would try to introduce evidence at trial from 12 other accusers to prove a pattern of abuse — although he is not charged for those alleged crimes.
A judge will ultimately decide whether the 12 additional accusers’ claims will be admitted at trial.