Entertainment

Cassie Settles Lawsuit Accusing Sean Combs of Rape and Abuse

Cassie and Sean Combs reached a settlement one day after she filed a lawsuit accusing the hip-hop mogul of physically and sexually abusing her during their previous relationship. The exact terms of the agreement, announced on Friday evening, remain undisclosed.

In a statement distributed by her attorney, Douglas Wigdor, singer Cassie—born Casandra Ventura—said: “I have decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control. I want to thank my family, fans and lawyers for their unwavering support.”

Combs—who has adopted numerous monikers during his career, including Puff Daddy, Puffy, Diddy and, most recently, Love—also confirmed the settlement in a statement. “We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love,” he said.

In an additional statement emailed to TIME on Saturday, Combs’ team shared a message from his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.

“Just so we’re clear, a decision to settle a lawsuit, especially in 2023, is in no way an admission of wrongdoing,” Brafman said. “Mr. Combs’ decision to settle the lawsuit does not, in any way, undermine his flat-out denial of the claims. He is happy they got to a mutual settlement and wishes Ms. Ventura the best.”

On Thursday afternoon, the New York Times reported that the singer Cassie had filed a suit in the Federal District Court in Manhattan, alleging that Sean Combs physically and sexually abused her for years during their relationship. Cassie filed the lawsuit under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, which allows accusers to file lawsuits after the statute of limitations lapses. The period during which these suits may be filed is set to end next week.

According to the court documents, the abuse began shortly after Combs and Ventura met in 2005, when she was 19 and he was 37. The two were romantically involved from 2007 until about 2018. The lawsuit cited “threats of violence, excessive use of drugs, physical and psychological abuse, and sexual slavery.” The suit referred to forced sexual encounters with male prostitutes which Combs would watch, film, and masturbate to. It went on to state that in 2018, “near the end of their relationship, Mr. Combs forced his way into her home and raped her.” Combs denied all allegations.

Combs, the founder of Bad Boy Records and a three-time Grammy winner, was awarded the Global Icon Award at the MTV Video Music Awards in September. He is one the most prominent figures in hip-hop, credited with helping commercialize the genre and boosting the careers of artists such as the Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige. Outside of music, he has seen success with his Sean John fashion and lifestyle brand and has enjoyed various TV projects and lucrative partnership deals.

Ventura is a successful recording artist with major hits including her breakout single “Me & U.” In 2006, she was signed to a label that later became an imprint of Diddy’s Bad Boy record label. The complaint says that her association with Bad Boy Records ended in 2019.

“After years in silence and darkness, 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,” Ventura said in a statement, upon announcement of the lawsuit. “With the expiration of New York’s Adult Survivors Act fast approaching, it became clear that this was an opportunity to speak up about the trauma I have experienced and that I will be recovering from for the rest of my life.”

The lawsuit alleged that Combs “asserted complete control” over Ventura throughout their relationship. It alleged that in 2012, Combs was so angered by Ventura’s relationship with the rapper Kid Cudi that he told Ventura he was going to blow up Kid Cudi’s car. “Around that time, Kid Cudi’s car exploded in his driveway,” the suit stated. A spokeswoman for Kid Cudi told the Times, “This is all true.”

“Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations,” Combs’ lawyer Brafman said in a statement emailed to TIME on Thursday. “Ms. Ventura’s demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, 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’ reputation, and seeking a pay day.”

Ventura’s lawyers denied the blackmail claim in a statement, noting, “Mr. Combs offered Ms. Ventura eight figures to silence her and prevent the filing of this lawsuit. She rejected his efforts and decided to give a voice to all women who suffer in silence. Ms. Ventura should be applauded for her bravery.”

Cassie Settles Lawsuit Accusing Sean Combs of Rape and Abuse

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