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Diddy accused of rape and physical abuse by singer Cassie

The lawsuit alleges that Sean Combs, also known as Diddy, plied Cassie with drugs and forced her to have sex with male sex workers

Rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, one of the biggest names in hip-hop, was sued in federal court on Thursday by his ex-girlfriend Casandra Ventura, who accused Combs of rape and subjecting her to unrelenting emotional and physical abuse. The rapper’s lawyer has denied all the allegations.

Ventura, an R&B singer who performs using the stage name Cassie, was once signed to Combs’s record label Bad Boy. In the suit filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Ventura claims that shortly after she met Combs in 2005, when she was 19 and he 37, he began a pattern of control and abuse.

The suit alleges he “plied the vulnerable Ms Ventura with drugs and alcohol”, including ketamine and ecstasy “causing her to fall into dangerous addictions that controlled her life”.

In one incident in Los Angeles in 2009, the suit says, Combs became angry after seeing Ventura speaking to another talent agent and pushed her into a car where he repeatedly kicked her in the face, causing her to bleed. The suit claims that Combs then had his staff take Ventura to a hotel to recover for a week, and when Ventura asked to go home to her parents, he refused.

The suit says that after seeing how violent Combs was and the extent to which he would isolate her from her support network, “Ms Ventura felt that saying ‘no’ to Mr Combs would cost her something – her family, her friends, her career, or even her life.” When Ventura did try to leave Combs, the suit says the rapper sent his staff out to encourage her to come back.

The suit says Combs also forced Ventura to have sex with male sex workers while he filmed the encounters. A few years into the relationship, the suit says, Combs began coercing her to engage in his voyeuristic fantasies, encounters which he called “freak offs”. These encounters continued for years in high-end hotels across the United States and in Combs’s homes. The suit says that Combs instructed Ventura to search for male sex workers online and would supply drugs at these events. Ventura’s suit says she took these drugs as they “allowed her to disassociate during these horrific encounters”. As these sexual encounters happened in different cities, the suit claims that Ventura was a victim of sex trafficking.

During one “freak off” at a Los Angeles hotel in 2016, the suit claims that Combs punched Ventura in the face. When Combs fell asleep, Ventura tried to leave the room, but he woke up and “threw glass vases” at her. The hotel’s security cameras captured that incident, but the suit says Combs paid the hotel $50,000 for the footage.

Combs would allegedly often film these encounters. While Ventura would delete videos from these incidents that had been shot on her phone, Combs taunted her by telling her he could still access deleted videos. On one occasion, Combs reportedly made her watch a video she thought she had deleted.

Combs also allegedly paid for Ventura’s car, accommodation and clothes, and had access to her medical records. The suit claims that on one occasion, results from an MRI scan Ventura had for memory loss – possibly caused by drug use or by a beating from Combs – went directly to Combs.

The suit also alleges that Combs “blew up a man’s car after he learned that he was romantically interested in Ventura”. The suit later says that the musician in question was Kid Cudi.

In addition, the suit says that “Mr Combs frequently reminded Ms Ventura of his ability to cause serious harm” and required her to carry his gun in her purse. In another incident, Combs allegedly dangled one of Ventura’s friends over a 17th-floor hotel balcony.

The court papers also assert that others who worked with Combs had enabled and assisted in his control of Ventura. For example, they would reportedly sometimes threaten to suppress her music if she did not obey him, or aid Combs in concealing his behaviour.

The suit also claims that towards the end of their relationship in 2018, Combs forced entry into Ventura’s home and raped her. After that, the suit says, Ventura ended their relationship permanently.

The suit says Ventura never went to the police because she feared it “would merely give Mr. Combs another excuse to hurt her.”

“After years in silence and darkness,” Ventura said in a statement, “I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships.”

Combs’ lawyer denied the allegations, calling them “offensive and outrageous”. He said: “For the past six months, Mr Combs has been subjected to Ms Ventura’s persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail. Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr Combs’s reputation and seeking a payday.”

Ventura’s lawyer countered these claims and said that prior to the lawsuit, “Mr. Combs offered Ms. Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit”, which she rejected.

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