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Sean 'Diddy' Combs faces a federal investigation: Everything to know about his legal troubles

The rap mogul is a subject of a federal investigation after four people were interviewed in relation to allegations of sex trafficking, sexual assault and more, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.
/ Source: TODAY

The day after Sean "Diddy" Combs was named as a defendant in a new lawsuit that accuses his son, Christian Combs, of sexual assault, according to NBC News, the rapper posted a clip from one of his music videos to Instagram.

“Bad Boy For Life,” he captioned the Instagram post, which showed footage from the 1997 music video “Victory (feat. The Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes).”

This latest lawsuit comes after a federal investigation involving the rapper was opened in March. Combs faces a wave of civil lawsuits related to a host of allegations, sources familiar with the matter have told NBC News.

The rap mogul has been accused of sexual assault and harassment, sex trafficking, rape and physical abuse in a series of lawsuits by a former romantic partner, a producer and others filed since November 2023. (The suit brought by his former girlfriend, Casandra Ventura, was settled.)

In a statement released in December 2023, Combs called the allegations "sickening" and said he "did not do any of the awful things being alleged."

On March 25, the same day a source confirmed Combs is under investigation, federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at homes of his in Los Angeles and Miami, four law enforcement sources told NBC News.

At least four people, three women and a man, spoke with federal officials in New York City about allegations of sex trafficking, sexual assault and the solicitation and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms, the source said. 

Firearms were found at the properties in both cities during the searches, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News. It was not immediately clear what type of firearms were found or who owned them.

An attorney for Combs told NBC News on March 26 that he cooperated with authorities and that the execution of the search warrants was "a gross overuse of military-level force."

“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," Aaron Dyer, Combs’ attorney, said in a statement.

Dyer also noted that neither Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested.

"Mr. Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name," Dyer said.

The music executive and father of seven, 54, has faced scrutiny since his former longtime girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie, accused him in a lawsuit in November 2023 of raping and physically abusing her.

A settlement between the singer and Combs was announced a day after the lawsuit was filed. Ben Brafman, a lawyer for Combs, said in a statement that the decision to settle "is in no way an admission of wrongdoing."

Here is a timeline of the legal drama surrounding Combs, beginning with the latest developments.

April 4, 2024: Combs’ son, Christian, is accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit that also names Combs 

On April 4, a woman filed a suit against Sean Combs’ son, Christian Combs, 26, claiming that he sexually assaulted her in December 2022 when she was working on a yacht that Sean Combs had chartered for a trip.

2022 Billboard Music Awards - Arrivals
Sean "Diddy" Combs and his son, Christian Combs, attend the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 15, 2022. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Combs, a father of seven, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit for premises liability and for “aiding and abetting his son in the alleged assault,” NBC News reported.

The plaintiff, Grace O’Marcaigh, alleges that Christian Combs became aggressive, groped her and pressured her to drink tequila, which she “quickly suspected” was spiked, according to the lawsuit obtained by NBC News.

O’Marcaigh has also shared what she claims are audio transcripts of her and Christian Combs speaking in a recording studio on the yacht, which she says serves as evidence of the alleged assault.

“Excuse me, you don’t touch my legs like that. I’ll move my legs where I want to,” O’Marcaigh said in one transcript, according to the lawsuit. “If I want to do this, then I will. You don’t touch my legs like that.” 

The lawsuit also includes photos of bruising on O’Marcaigh’s arm, which allegedly occurred when Combs grabbed her, according to NBC News. 

According to the suit, Marcaigh reported the incident to the yacht’s captain the next day, but she says the captain did not believe her. 

The lawsuit also states that Marcaigh suffered physically, emotionally and professionally following the alleged assault. 

“I am here to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves and I applaud Grace for being so brave to come forward with her truth,” attorney Rodney S. Diggs told NBC News of his client. “Hopefully her story will inspire others to come forward.”

Representatives for Sean Combs and Christian Combs did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment on April 4.

March 29, 2024: Rapper 50 Cent and his ex, Daphne Joy, respond after she’s named in producer’s lawsuit

Combs' former producer, Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones, alleged in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in February that Combs sexually harassed, drugged and threatened him during his work on Combs' 2023 album.

The complaint, which was amended on March 25, also alleged that actor and model Daphne Joy Cervantes Narvaez, known as Daphne Joy, was one of three women "who were paid a monthly fee to work as Mr. Combs' sex workers," according to the filing.

"Defendant Sean Combs bragged about having several women on a monthly stipend," the complaint said.

The allegations about Joy in the lawsuit appeared to prompt a response from Joy’s ex, rapper 50 Cent, with whom she shares a 12-year-old son.

In a statement, the rapper, whose given name is Curtis Jackson III, said he planned to seek sole custody of their son.

"The disturbing allegations in the sworn pleadings recently filed in a court case related to Daphne Joy, the mother of my twelve year old child, has required me to take all necessary legal actions to protect my son Sire," Jackson's statement said.

Jackson also posted several comments on his Twitter and Instagram accounts that appeared to reference Jones' lawsuit. In one, he said Joy "started receiving money from Brother Love." (In 2022, Combs announced he would start going by the moniker "Love.")

Joy responded to the rapper's comments with a lengthy statement on Instagram that included allegations of sexual abuse.

"Let's put the real focus on your true evil actions of raping and physically abusing me," she wrote. "You have permanently damaged the last hope I had for you as a father to preserve our family with these last and final false claims made against me."

Jackson responded to the allegations in his statement.

"The most recent false and baseless accusations by Daphne Joy are clearly in response to my decision to seek sole custody of my son," he said. "My son Sire is my main priority and keeping him in a safe environment is my only focus at this time."

March 26, 2024: Firearms found during searches at Combs’ properties, sources say

Federal agents found firearms during the searches of properties owned by Combs in Los Angeles and Miami, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News on March 26.

It was not immediately clear who owned the firearms.

Aaron Dyer, an attorney for Combs, said in a statement the music executive cooperated with authorities during the search at his property in Miami. Authorities there also seized Combs’ phones before he was scheduled to depart for a trip to the Bahamas.

Dyer also said that Combs has not been charged with any crimes and called the searches of his properties an “excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities.”

March 25, 2024: An associate of Combs is arrested on drug charges

On the same day Combs’ properties were searched, authorities arrested Brendan Paul, 25, at the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on charges of possession of suspected cocaine and suspected marijuana candy, according to a police report.

Paul, a former basketball player at Syracuse University, is an associate of the music mogul, a law enforcement source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News.

In the lawsuit filed by Jones, Diddy’s former producer, Jones alleges that he and Paul were required to carry drugs and guns for Combs when Combs traveled.

The lawsuit also alleges that Jones has video and audio evidence of Combs and others “engaging in serious illegal activity” and includes photos of Paul holding pill bottles while on a yacht with Combs, according to NBC Miami affiliate WTVJ.

Paul bonded out of jail on March 26, court records show.

“We do not plan on trying this case in the media — all issues will be dealt with in court,” Brian Bieber, an attorney for Paul, told NBC News on March 27.

March 25, 2024: Federal agents search two of Combs’ properties in LA and Miami

Properties owned by Combs in Los Angeles and Miami were searched by Homeland Security Investigations agents executing warrants out of the Southern District of New York, four law enforcement sources told NBC News.

HSI confirmed in a statement that it “executed law enforcement actions” in New York, Los Angeles and Miami as part of an ongoing investigation.

Officials also seized phones from Combs in Miami before he left for a trip to the Bahamas, three law enforcement sources familiar with the warrant told NBC News. It is not clear if Combs made the trip as planned.

Representatives for Combs did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment on March 25.

Combs is a subject of a federal investigation, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News. Four people have been interviewed and three others are scheduled to speak with federal officials in relation to allegations of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and the solicitation and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms, the source told NBC News.

Feb. 27, 2024: A producer on Combs’ latest album accuses him of sexual harassment and assault

Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones alleged in a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York last month that Combs sexually harassed, drugged and threatened him for more than a year while he worked on Combs’ 2023 release “The Love Album: Off the Grid.”

Jones, who is seeking $30 million in damages, alleged that the music executive ordered him to procure sex workers and pressured him to engage in unwelcome sex acts with them and others. He also said in the court filing that Combs gave laced alcoholic beverages to people who attended parties at his homes. 

“We have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies,” an attorney for Combs said in a statement in February.

An amended federal complaint filed by Jones on March 25, 2024, also accused actor Cuba Gooding Jr. of sexually harassing and assaulting him. The amended filing alleges that Gooding groped Jones while on Combs’ yacht.

An attorney and representatives for Gooding did not immediately respond to requests for comment after the amended complaint was filed.

The case continues to move forward.

In a statement on March 26, Tyrone Blackburn, the attorney for Gardner and Jones, told NBC News that while they “appreciate” the federal government’s raids on Combs, “today’s events are not going to prevent nor delay my clients pending and forthcoming actions for justice and resolution from the Combs RICO Enterprise.”

Dec. 6, 2023: Combs issues a statement about the lawsuits, saying ‘enough is enough’

On the same day the fourth lawsuit was filed, Combs put out a statement on Instagram refuting all the allegations.

“Enough is enough,” he wrote. “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.

“Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged,” he continued. “I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth.”

In a separate response at the time, Pierre said he never participated in any sexual assault of Doe nor did he ever witness anyone else sexually assaulting her.

Dec. 6, 2023: A fourth woman accuses Combs of sexual assault in a lawsuit

A fourth woman, identified in a lawsuit only as Jane Doe, accused Combs of sex trafficking and gang rape in 2003, when she was 17 and he was 34.

The woman alleged in a filing in New York that the assault occurred in 2003, saying in the filing that she was gang raped and sex trafficked by Combs and Harve Pierre, a former longtime president of Combs’ Bad Boy record label, as well as an unnamed individual.

“As alleged in the complaint, Defendants preyed on a vulnerable high school teenager as part of a sex trafficking scheme that involved plying her with drugs and alcohol and transporting her by private jet to New York City where she was gang raped by the three individual defendants at Mr. Combs’ studio,” the woman’s attorney said in a statement.

A judge recently ruled that in order for this case to move forward, the plaintiff must reveal her identity. 

“The Court recognizes that public disclosure of Doe’s identity could have a significant impact on her, particularly given the graphic and disturbing allegations in this case,” Jessica G. L. Clarke, a U.S. District Judge, wrote in her ruling on Feb. 29.

“While the Court does not take Plaintiff’s concerns lightly, the Court cannot rely on generalized, uncorroborated claims that disclosure would harm Plaintiff to justify her anonymity.”

Douglas Wigdor, the attorney for Doe and Ventura gave NBC News a statement on March 26 following the federal raid on Combs’ properties.

“We will always support law enforcement when it seeks to prosecute those that have violated the law. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct,” Wigdor said.

Nov. 24, 2023: A third woman files a lawsuit alleging Combs sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s

A woman identified in the complaint as Liza Gardner alleged that Combs and R&B singer Aaron Hall assaulted her and a friend at Hall’s apartment in 1990 or 1991.

Gardner’s lawsuit was filed one day before the expiration of the New York Adult Survivors Act, which allows adult sexual assault survivors one year to sue regardless of when the original statute of limitations expired. An amended suit was filed on March 12, 2024.

The complaint alleges that Gardner, who was 16 at the time, was offered drinks and “coerced into having sex with Combs” at Hall’s apartment.

“The claims involving alleged misconduct against Mr. Combs from over 30 years ago and filed at the last minute are all completely denied and rejected by him,” a spokesperson for Combs told NBC News at the time. Hall did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment. Gardner’s lawsuit is ongoing.

Nov. 23, 2023: A woman files a lawsuit alleging Combs drugged and sexually assaulted her in 1991

Following the resolution of the lawsuit involving Cassie, a second woman filed a lawsuit against the rap mogul.

Joie Dickerson-Neal alleged in court documents in New York Supreme Court that Combs sexually assaulted her when she was a student at Syracuse University in 1991.

A spokesperson for Combs denied the allegations at the time.

The complaint alleges Combs “intentionally drugged” Dickerson-Neal and then took her to a place he was staying and sexually assaulted her, according to the court filing.

Dickerson-Neal also alleged in the court filing that she was the victim of “revenge porn” because Combs recorded the alleged sexual assault. She said a member of the popular ‘90s R&B group Jodeci named DeVanté Swing told her he and other people viewed a “sex tape” of her.

NBC News reached out to a representative for Swing but did not hear back.

Dickerson-Neal said in court documents that Cassie’s lawsuit prompted her to “face his assault again” and file her own lawsuit. Dickerson-Neal’s lawsuit is still ongoing.

Nov. 16, 2023: Singer Cassie files a lawsuit accusing Combs of rape, then settles a day later

Casandra Ventura, the R&B singer known as Cassie, filed a lawsuit in New York City accusing Combs of rape and abuse during their 10-plus years as a couple.

Ventura, 37, “was held down by Mr. Combs and endured over a decade of his violent behavior and disturbed demands,” the complaint said.

The lawsuit also alleged that Combs encouraged Ventura to use drugs and drink excessive amounts of alcohol in addition to forcing her to get illegal prescription medications for him.

Combs "vehemently" denied the "offensive and outrageous allegations,” his lawyer Ben Brafman said in a statement at the time.

A day after the lawsuit was filed, the two parties announced a settlement had been reached.

“I have decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control,” Ventura said in a statement. “I want to thank my family, fans and lawyers for their unwavering support.”

"I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love,” Combs said in a statement.

Brafman said the decision to settle was "in no way an admission of wrongdoing."

“Mr. Combs’ decision to settle the lawsuit does not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claims,” Brafman said. “He is happy they got to a mutual settlement and wishes Ms. Ventura the best.”