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Homes of Sean (Diddy) Combs searched in connection with sex trafficking investigation | CBC News

WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone who has.

Two properties owned by music mogul Sean (Diddy) Combs in Los Angeles and Miami were searched Monday by Homeland Security Investigations agents and other law enforcement agencies as part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation by federal authorities in New York, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

It is not clear whether Combs was the target of the investigation. The officials were not authorized to discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

In a statement, Homeland Security Investigations said it “conducted law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation, with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami and our local law enforcement partners.”

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for Combs said the searches of his property were “a gross use of military force” and that Combs is “innocent and will continue to fight” to clear his name.

“There is no excuse for the authorities’ excessive display of force and hostility or for the manner in which his children and employees were treated,” said the statement from attorney Aaron Dyer.

Two men in combat fatigues hold onto the side of a large military vehicle as it drives around other stopped cars.
Police officers drove a vehicle near Combs’ property in Los Angeles on Monday. (Eric Thayer/The Associated Press)

A police cordon was set up around the Los Angeles home in the affluent Holmby Hills neighborhood near Beverly Hills. Helicopter video from KABC-TV showed a group of agents wearing vests indicating they were from Homeland Security Investigations gathered in the backyard of the home near the pool. A command post was set up outside the home and agents continued to come and go hours after the search began.

Multiple sexual assault lawsuits have been filed against Combs in recent months.

In February, a music producer filed a lawsuit alleging that Combs forced him to recruit prostitutes and pressured him to have sex with them. Combs’ attorney, Shawn Holley, said of the allegations: “We have overwhelming, indisputable evidence that his claims are complete lies.”

Combs’ former protégé and girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie, sued him in November alleging years of sexual abuse, including rape. The lawsuit said he forced her to have sex with male prostitutes while he filmed her. The lawsuit was settled the day after it was filed.

Another of Combs’ accusers was a woman who said the rap producer raped her two decades ago when she was 17.

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly, as Cassie did.

Combs said in a December statement: “I did none of the terrible things that are alleged.”

Douglas Wigdor, an attorney representing Cassie and another woman who sued Combs, said in a statement Monday: “Hopefully this is the start of a process that holds Mr. Combs accountable for his depraved behavior.”

It is not clear whether the search is related to the allegations made in the lawsuits.

VIEW | Authorities search properties owned by Sean (Diddy) Combs:

Authorities are searching Sean Combs’ properties in Miami and LA

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducted searches Monday at the homes of rapper and producer Sean “Diddy” Combs in Miami and Los Angeles.

Hip hop empire

Combs is one of the most influential hip-hop producers and managers of the last three decades. Formerly known as Puff Daddy, he built one of hip hop’s largest empires and paved the way for several entities associated with his famous name. He is the founder of Bad Boy Records and a three-time Grammy winner who has collaborated with a number of high-profile artists including Notorious BIG, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Lil Kim, Faith Evans and 112.

Combs founded the Sean John clothing line, launched the music-focused television channel Revolt and produced the reality show Form the band for MTV.

A man in a red shirt and pants holds his hand up while singing into a microphone on stage.
Combs performs onstage during the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in September at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

His latest album, The Love Album: Off the Grid, was released last year, just days after Combs was honored at the MTV Video Music Awards. It was nominated for Best Progressive R&B Album at the Grammy Awards in February, which the rapper-mogul did not attend.

Since stories about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein launched the #MeToo movement in 2017, the entertainment industry has faced a steady stream of career-ending sexual misconduct allegations for years That 70’s show Star Danny Masterson is serving a prison sentence after being convicted of rape. Dozens of civil lawsuits have been filed against prominent figures.

The music industry hasn’t been held accountable to the same extent, but singer and producer R. Kelly is serving a prison sentence for sexually abusing young fans, seven women have sued hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons for rape, and two women have sued Aerosmith -Singer Steven Tyler accuses sexual assault.

Weinstein, Masterson and Kelly are appealing their convictions and Simmons has denied all allegations against him. One lawsuit against Tyler was dismissed and he is denying the other.

For anyone who has been sexually abused, there is support through crisis hotlines and local support services Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

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