Singer Cassie Settles Lawsuit Against Music Mogul Sean “Diddy" Combs
R&B singer Casandra Ventura has reached a settlement with rapper and music producer Sean Combs just a day after filing a lawsuit accusing the hip-hop mogul of sex trafficking, rape, and sexual abuse. The specific terms of the settlement remain confidential.
Me & U: The Former Couple's Dating History
Cassie Ventura and Mr. Combs reportedly met when Cassie was just 19 years old. They dated off and on afterward for over ten years in addition to having a professional relationship when she was hired as a model and spokesperson for Diddy's fashion line, SeanJohn, before later signing with Combs' Bad Boy Records.
Cassie released her self-titled album with Bad Boy Records, and her hit single “Me & U" rose to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Combs has won multiple Grammy awards, including the “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group" for his collaboration with former first lady of Bad Boy Records, Faith Evans. Combs wrote the song to honor his friend and Evans' late husband, The Notorious B.I.G. after the rapper was shot and killed.
Cassie and Diddy initially denied that they were dating but seemed to take their romance public in 2009. Considered a power couple in the music industry, they were often seen making public appearances together in Hollywood and New York City. However, their love officially came to an end in 2018 when Cassie's rep confirmed their breakup. In 2019, Ms. Ventura married her personal trainer, and they now share two children. Diddy was recently rumored to be dating rapper Yung Miami.
Love a Loser: Cassie's Allegations Against Diddy
Last Thursday, Cassie filed a civil lawsuit in a New York federal court accusing Combs of raping her in her Los Angeles home and multiple acts of sexual assault and physical abuse during their relationship. Cassie's lawsuit also claimed Combs compelled her to take drugs to maintain a level of control and forced her to have sex with male prostitutes and male sex workers while he filmed the acts.
If the case went to trial, Cassie would have to prove her allegations based on a preponderance of evidence, the standard of proof in a civil lawsuit. To obtain a judgment against Combs and hold him legally responsible for any damages, Cassie would need to establish a greater than 50% chance that her claims against him were true. A civil trial also means that Combs would get the chance to dispute Cassie's claims and present his own evidence to prove his innocence.
To prove the sexual assault charges, Cassie would have to show that Combs subjected her to involuntary sexual contact through one of the following:
Rape is a form of sexual assault. It's a non-consensual sexual act that's committed:
- By physical force, threat of injury, or other duress
- Against people who are legally or otherwise unable to consent
Typically, states have their own time limits that require the filing of a civil case for sexual assault within a specific number of years following the alleged incident. Cassie was able to sue Combs without worrying about the statute of limitations under the New York Adult Survivors Act. This law gives victims a limited one-year time frame to file in 2023 for acts that occurred in any year.
Bad Boy for Life: Diddy's Reputation
Diddy managed to avoid a trial by settling the matter with Cassie outside of court. He's also maintained his innocence and denied the charges despite the unwavering support given to Cassie by some of his former artists and similar claims against him made by other women.
Aubrey O'Day, a member of Diddy's now broken-up girl group, Danity Kane, has criticized Diddy over the years and revealed that he made her sign an NDA to prevent her from continuing to talk badly about him. In 2004, Kimora Lee Simmons revealed in an interview with New York magazine that Combs once threatened to hit her. In 2019, Diddy's ex-girlfriend and model, Gina Huynh, accused him of violent abuse and stomping on her head.
It's All About the Benjamins: Settling the Case
Right after news broke about Cassie's lawsuit, Combs' lawyer Ben Brafman spoke on his behalf regarding the “outrageous allegations." Brafman alleged Cassie's filing was because of her failed attempts at blatant blackmail and getting a “payday" from Diddy. Cassie's attorney, Douglas Wigdor, says Diddy attempted to silence Cassie by offering her a large amount of money, but she refused to accept. Diddy's lawyer has now released another statement saying Mr. Combs' decision to settle should not be viewed as an admission of wrongdoing.
So why settle? Taking a case to trial is often a long and expensive process. For a plaintiff, settling may be an opportunity to get some kind of compensation for the wrong committed against them. For a defendant, it can help avoid the possibility of greater damages found through a verdict and can help avoid negative publicity. Whatever reasons Cassie and Diddy decided to settle will likely remain a mystery. Their attorneys have released a statement assuring everyone that the agreement reached was to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.
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