Peril intensifies for Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs after video shows him attacking Cassie Ventura

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A video showing embattled music legend Sean “Diddy” Combs violently attacking his then-girlfriend in a Los Angeles hotel in 2016 is likely to add more urgency to a federal sex-trafficking investigation into the star.

The video shows Combs chasing, kicking, dragging and hurling a glass vase at Cassie, a singer whose real name is Casandra Ventura. It was obtained Friday by CNN and corroborates parts of a civil lawsuit Ventura filed against Combs last year, which was settled a day after it was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The video is not related to the federal probe, but it is drawing more attention to the ongoing investigation.

Law enforcement sources told The Times that Combs is the subject of a sweeping inquiry into sex-trafficking allegations that resulted in a federal raid in March at his estates in Los Angeles and Miami. Combs has not been charged with any crime and has denied any wrongdoing.

Allegations against Combs have piled up in recent years. Four women have accused him of rape, assault and other abuses, dating back three decades. One of the allegations involved a minor.

A law enforcement agent carries a bag of evidence at the entrance to a property belonging to rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs

(Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

Credibility issues

Los Angeles defense attorney Lou Shapiro said the video adds to the jeopardy Combs is facing.

“This video paints him in an awful light. If the people were giving him the benefit of doubt, that is over,” he said.

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, agreed.

“There is no legal or moral justification for what Diddy did. He violently attacked a defenseless woman,” Rahmani said, adding that the “video doesn’t lie.”

When Ventura filed her lawsuit, Combs’ attorney strongly denied any wrongdoing by his client, saying the claim was “riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs’ reputation and seeking a payday.”

The video, both Shapiro and Rahmani said, presents major credibility challenges for Combs. “The problem here is he denied hitting [Ventura] and then in this video he is even kicking her when she is down,” Shapiro said.

“Diddy’s sharp denials early on are going to hurt him as the investigation progresses,” added Meghan Blanco, an Orange County defense attorney who has experience with federal sex-offense cases.

A representative for Combs did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment on the video.

Ventura’s lawyer, however, said the video shows his client was telling the truth.

“The gut-wrenching video has only further confirmed the disturbing and predatory behavior of Mr. Combs,” Douglas H. Wigdor said in a statement. “Words cannot express the courage and fortitude that Ms. Ventura has shown in coming forward to bring this to light.”

What the video shows

The recording, dated March 5, 2016, shows Ventura in a hoodie and carrying a duffel bag, walking in a hotel hallway toward an elevator. Combs can be seen running down the same hallway, shirtless and holding a towel around his waist.

Security footage captured from another angle shows him grabbing Ventura’s head and throwing her on the ground, where he kicks her multiple times. He can also be seen picking up her bags and trying to drag her back to the first hallway.

The footage also shows Ventura using a hotel phone by the elevators, as well as Combs going back to his hotel room and then separately seemingly shoving Ventura into a corner. He is also seen throwing a vase in her direction.

In a statement Friday, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said it was aware of the video, and called the images “extremely disturbing and difficult to watch.”

“If the conduct depicted occurred in 2016, unfortunately we would be unable to charge as the conduct would have occurred beyond the timeline where a crime of assault can be prosecuted,” the statement said. “As of today, law enforcement has not presented a case related to the attack depicted in the video against Mr. Combs.”

Sean “Diddy” Combs arrives at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 15, 2022.

(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Ventura’s lawsuit

Ventura’s November lawsuit detailed the incident, which occurred at the InterContinental hotel in Century City. After Combs fell asleep, Ventura attempted to leave the room, the lawsuit said, but he awoke and “began screaming” at her.

“He followed her into the hallway of the hotel while yelling at her,” the complaint said. “He grabbed at her, and then took glass vases in the hallway and threw them at her, causing glass to crash around them as she ran to the elevator to escape.”

The 2023 complaint said Ventura, who was dating Combs at the time, was “stuck in this vicious cycle of abuse” and took a cab to her apartment after the alleged attack but returned to the hotel seeking to apologize to him for running away. The hotel’s security staff encouraged her to go back home, the lawsuit said, and informed her they had seen footage of “Mr. Combs beating [her] and throwing glass at her in the hotel hallway.”

Authorities walk on a street near a property belonging to Sean “Diddy” Combs’

(Eric Thayer / Associated Press)

Sex-trafficking probe

Little is known about the federal probe, including the identities of any alleged victims. People with knowledge of the investigation said federal investigators are seeking telecommunications and flight records related to Combs. Back in March, investigators searching Combs’ Holmby Hills home emptied safes, dismantled electronics and left papers strewn in some rooms, sources told The Times.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigates most sex-trafficking operations for the federal government. Legal experts say one reason the agency could be involved in this case is because the women involved in the allegations against Combs might be from other countries.

A source familiar with Homeland Security’s criminal inquiry said investigators have interviewed some of the people tied to the sex-trafficking allegations in the lawsuits against Combs.

Combs’ lawyers have strongly criticized the federal probe, calling the searches of his homes “militarized” and a “witch hunt.”

“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,” attorney Aaron Dyer said in March.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.