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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ raid: Attorney criticizes ‘excessive force’ by federal agents

Sean "Diddy" Combs

Federal agents on Monday raided the homes of rap star Sean “Diddy” Combs in Miami and Los Angeles as part of a federal inquiry into sex trafficking allegations, authorities said.

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Homeland Security Investigations agents raided the hip-hop mogul’s home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, KTTV reported. Agents also raided Combs’ homes on Star Island in Miami Beach, according to the Miami Herald.

Combs; attorney criticizes ‘excessive force’

Update 6:01 p.m. EDT March 26: An attorney for rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs released a statement on Tuesday, calling the raids “a gross use of military-level force,” adding that the raids on his properties in Florida and California were “nothing more than a witch hunt based on meritless accusations made in civil lawsuits.”

“There is no excuse for the excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities or the way his children and employees were treated,” attorney Aaron Dyer, said, according to The New York Times. “Mr. Combs was never detained but spoke to and cooperated with authorities. Despite media speculation, neither Mr. Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested nor has their ability to travel been restricted in any way.”

Dyer also characterized the raids as an “unprecedented ambush,” according to his statement, adding that it leads to “a premature rush to judgment” of Combs.

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

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Original report: It was unclear whether Combs, 54, or other residents are the targets of Monday’s raid, CNN reported.

The raid came weeks after a lawsuit alleged that the three-time Grammy Award winner was the leader of a criminal enterprise that could qualify as a “widespread and dangerous criminal sex trafficking organization,” the Herald reported.

“Earlier today, 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,” Homeland Security Investigations said in a statement. “We will provide further information as it becomes available.”

HSI did not say who was targeted in the investigation, The New York Times reported. Video from KTTV showed officers entering a home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles that was connected to Combs’ company, Bad Boy Entertainment.

Two of Combs’ sons were seen being detained on Combs’ property in California, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing footage captured by KTTV. It was unclear whether Combs was at either property when agents descended upon the homes.

Shawn Holley, an attorney for Combs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Footage from WTVJ in Miami showed multiple HSI agents at Combs’ home on Star Island, an exclusive neighborhood located off Miami Beach.

Combs owns a residence at 1 Star Island which was previously owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, according to the Herald. He purchased the Miami Beach property for $35 million in 2021. He also owns a home at 2 Star Island, according to Miami-Dade property records.

Federal agents raided both properties, according to the newspaper.

Sean "Diddy" Combs

An HSI Miami representative told CNN that the action by agents was a “search warrant execution.”

The criminal inquiry was being conducted by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and federal agents with HSI, a law-enforcement official told The New York Times. Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for the Southern District, declined comment to the newspaper.

Four separate plaintiffs have filed civil lawsuits against Combs accusing him of rape, sex trafficking a minor and assault, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Last month, Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones Jr. filed a lawsuit against Combs in a Manhattan federal district court, the Times reported. Jones alleged that in 2022 and 2023, he worked on Combs’ latest album “The Love Album: Off the Grid,” producing nine of the 11 tracks.

Other defendants named in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York are Combs’ chief of staff Kristina Khorram; his adult son, Justin Combs; Universal Music Group CEO Sir Lucian Grainge; and former Motown Records CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam, according to Rolling Stone and NBC News.

Jones was seeking $30 million, NBC News reported.

Jones alleged that Combs, his staff and music executives knew about — and were also involved in — illicit and unwanted sexual activities in Florida, New York, California and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Herald.

On Monday, investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department were at Combs’ home in California but refused comment, KTTV reported.

“We will always support law enforcement when it seeks to prosecute those that have violated the law,” Doug Wigdor, a lawyer for his former girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, and one of Combs’ other accusers, said in a statement, according to the television station. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct.”

In addition to Ventura, Joi Dickerson-Neal accused Combs of drugging and raping her in 1991, recording the attack and then distributing the footage without her consent, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Liza Gardner filed a third suit, accusing Combs and Guy singer Aaron Hall of sexually assaulting her, the newspaper reported.

A fourth lawsuit, filed in December 2023, alleged that Combs and former Bad Boy label president Harve Pierre gang-raped and sex-trafficked a 17-year-old girl, according to the Los Angeles Times. Pierre said in a statement that the allegations were “disgusting,” “false” and a “desperate attempt for financial gain.”

After the fourth lawsuit was filed, Combs answered on Instagram, saying, “Enough is enough.”

“For the last couple of weeks, I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy. Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals looking for a quick payday,” Combs wrote. “Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth.”

Combs played a major role in transforming hip-hop into a musical force. He launched the career of the late Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige, according to The New York Times. He also had hits with 1997′s “I’ll Be Missing You,” according to the newspaper.

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