(CNN) — Producer and musician Sean Combs was sued in federal court in New York City on Thursday by his former girlfriend Casandra Ventura, who alleges she was raped and subjected to years of physical and other abuse by Combs.
“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 – an R&B singer who goes by the stage name Cassie – said in a statement to CNN. “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.”
“Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations,” Ben Brafman, attorney for Combs, said in a statement emailed to CNN via Combs’ publicist. “For the past 6 months, Mr. Combs, has been subjected to Ms. Ventura’s persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which 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.”
Combs, 54, founded the music label Bad Boy in 1993, and has gone by stage names Puff Daddy and Diddy. Credited with work that is regarded as instrumental in the growth of the hip-hop genre, Combs has won three Grammys in his career, along with 14 nominations. Arguably his most popular song is “I’ll Be Missing You” off the hit 1997 album “No Way Out.” Other hit tracks include “It’s All About the Benjamins” and “Bad Boy for Life.” While he achieved initial success with his music, Combs also became a notable producer as well as entrepreneur.
Ventura, 37, is an R&B singer most known for her song “Me & U” off of her 2006 self-titled debut album “Cassie,” which was released while she was signed to Combs’ Bad Boy label. She has also made music with artists such as Lil Wayne and Akon, and in 2009 released the single “Must Be Love” featuring Combs.
Combs and Ventura were allegedly in a partnership between 2005 and 2019.