Diddy lawyers condemn federal 'ambush' on US rapper's homes

A plane associated with US producer-musician Sean "Diddy" Combs landed in Antigua the day his luxury US homes were raided (ANGELA WEISS)
A plane associated with US producer-musician Sean "Diddy" Combs landed in Antigua the day his luxury US homes were raided (ANGELA WEISS)

Lawyers for Sean "Diddy" Combs on Tuesday said raids carried out by federal agents on the rap mogul's US homes were an "unprecedented ambush" and part of "a witch hunt based on meritless accusations."

Two luxury properties owned by Combs -- who is at the center of sex trafficking claims and sex assault lawsuits -- were raided Monday by armed agents from Homeland Security Investigations.

"Yesterday, there was a gross overuse of military-level force as search warrants were executed at Mr Combs' residences," lawyer Aaron Dyer said in a statement to US media.

"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," said Dyer.

Authorities have not said why the raids were carried out.

But Combs is the target of several civil lawsuits that characterize him as a violent sexual predator who used alcohol and drugs to subdue his victims.

He has faced at least four lawsuits from people who say he sexually abused them, with allegations dating back decades.

Last year Combs was sued by former girlfriend Casandra Ventura, who performed under the stage name Cassie and was signed to his Bad Boy label.

The suit alleged he had forced her to perform sexual acts with multiple men over a number of years in cities across the United States.

That suit was settled, but was followed by others, including one in December by a woman who accused Combs of sexual assault, alleging he and others gang-raped her when she was 17.

Combs, who has not been criminally convicted, denies all the allegations.

"There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations. Mr Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name," said Dyer on Tuesday.

The attorney said there was "no excuse for the excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities," and said neither Combs nor any of his family members were arrested.

A law enforcement source told AFP that Combs -- known also as Diddy or Puff Daddy -- had been in Miami on Monday and had been spoken to by agents, but confirmed he had not been arrested.

Aerial images taken Monday had appeared to show the rapper's sons Justin and King Combs in handcuffs at his Los Angeles property.

New images published by celebrity website TMZ on Tuesday appeared to show computers and other electronic equipment had been ripped out from Combs' Los Angeles home.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday it emerged that a luxury private jet belonging to Combs landed in the Caribbean island of Antigua hours after his US homes were raided.

Combs was not aboard the Gulfstream V, US media said Tuesday as they published photos of the aircraft in the tropical hideaway.

Flight tracking data showed the plane -- named LoveAir -- had departed from an airport in southern California on Monday.

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