Monday, May 27, 2024

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ homes raided by law enforcement as part of investigation

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Two of Sean “Diddy” Combs‘ homes were searched by U.S. Homeland Security on Monday as part of a federal investigation.

Federal officials raided Combs’ Los Angeles home Monday, according to Rolling Stone and local Los Angeles news station Fox 11, amid lawsuits filed against him from accusers alleging the rapper and music mogul has raped or sexually assaulted them. Agents also searched Combs’ Miami residence Monday, Rolling Stone, NBC News and The Associated Press reported.

When reached for comment regarding a case on Combs, a Homeland Security Investigations spokesperson said in a statement to USA TODAY Monday that “Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation, with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami, and our local law enforcement partners. We will provide further information as it becomes available.”

Nicholas Biase, chief spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, also declined to comment in response to questions from USA TODAY. Justice Department prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are leading the investigation, according to the New York Times.

Diddy investigated for sex trafficking: A timeline of allegations and the rapper’s life, career

Fox 11 aired helicopter footage of law enforcement on the grounds of what is purportedly Combs’ LA residence. In videos, armed agents are seen outside and roaming around the Holmby Hills mansion in West LA. Los Angeles Police Department vehicles and officers appear to have cordoned off the residential street to onlookers, per video footage.

Diddy’s lawyer says rapper is innocent, calls home raids ‘a witch hunt’

The day after the rapper’s homes were searched by U.S. Homeland Security, a lawyer for Combs called them a “witch hunt based on meritless accusations.”

Aaron Dyer, a corporate investigations and white-collar defense lawyer for Combs, said the music mogul is innocent and criticized the raids in a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday.

“Yesterday, there was a gross overuse of military-level force as search warrants were executed at Mr. Combs’ residences,” Dyer said. “There is no excuse for the excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities or the way his children and employees were treated.”

Combs “was never detained but spoke to and cooperated with authorities,” Dyer said, and none of the rapper’s family members were arrested. 

“This unprecedented ambush – paired with an advanced, coordinated media presence – leads to a premature rush to judgment of Mr. Combs and is nothing more than a witch hunt based on meritless accusations made in civil lawsuits,” Dyer continued.

“There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations. Mr. Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name.”

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Diddy’s homes were raided as part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation

Per NBC News, the Los Angeles Times and the AP, the searches are part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation in New York. Several people have been interviewed by investigators about allegations against Combs regarding sex trafficking, sexual assault and other alleged offenses, according to NBC News and the AP.

The Bad Boy Records founder is facing multiple lawsuits filed in recent months claiming the music mogul raped or sexually assaulted several alleged victims over the past few decades. Most recently, a music producer who worked with Combs on his most recent record, “The Love Album: Off the Grid,” sued him in February, accusing him of “engaging in serious illegal activity” including sexual assault.

An anonymous accuser filed a lawsuit in December alleging Combs and his associates raped her when she was 17 years old. The previous month, a woman named Joi Dickerson-Neal filed a lawsuit against Combs alleging she was drugged, sexually assaulted and abused, and was the victim of “revenge porn.”

Several days before this, his ex-girlfriend, the singer Cassie Ventura, accused Combs of rape, sex trafficking and physical abuse. Combs and Cassie settled for an undisclosed amount a day later. The lawsuits filed by Dickerson-Neal and Ventura were done so before the New York’s Adult Survivors Act deadline. It gave victims of sexual abuse a one-year window to make claims that would otherwise be barred by time limits.

Combs has denied all accusations against him.

Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for Cassie Ventura and Jane Doe, shared a statement Monday afternoon after reports of the search warrant on Combs emerged.

“We will always support law enforcement when it seeks to prosecute those that have violated the law,” Wigdor said. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct.”

Attorney Tyrone Blackburn, who represents some of Combs’ accusers, told Rolling Stone, “It’s about damn time. Sometimes justice delayed is not justice denied, so long as justice ultimately arrives.”

Contributing: Josh Meyer

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline offers free, confidential, 24/7 support to survivors and their loved ones in English and Spanish at: 800.656.HOPE (4673) and and en Español

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