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Diddy's lawyers say feds used 'military-level force' in home raids

Lawyers for Sean "Diddy" Combs said Homeland Security Investigation officials used excessive force in an "unprecedented ambush" as the agency sweptthrough Los Angeles and Miami properties linked to the rapper on Monday, collecting evidence in an ongoing investigation.

"Yesterday, there was a gross overuse of military-level force as search warrants were executed at Mr. Combs' residences," Combs' attorney Aaron Dyer said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. "There is no excuse for the excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities or the way his children and employees were treated."

Video footage captured by Fox 11 in Los Angeles, showed that two people were temporarily handcuffed outside of the mansion that has been cited as Combs' residence in legal documents. The two people were later identified as the hip-hop mogul's sons, Justin and Christian "King" Combs, according to Fox 11.

Dyer also addressed an exchange between Combs and officials at an airport in the Miami area on Monday afternoon.

The 54-year-old was spotted pacing outside of Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport where he was accompanied by some family members, the New York Times reported. The outlet said Combs was stopped by federal agents who "took a number of electronic devices" from him.

Dyer said Combs was not detained during the exchange and that he cooperated with authorities. The lawyer noted that neither Combs "nor any of his family members have been arrested nor has their ability to travel been restricted in any way."

Homeland Security Investigations authorities have disclosed little information about the raids and the broader investigation, or if Combs is the target of the endeavor, saying only that HSI New York "executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami and our local law enforcement partners."

Dyer said law enforcement's actions lead 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."

He added: "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."

The raids come amid several civil lawsuits filed in recent months, accusing Combs and others within his inner circle of sex trafficking, sexual assault, including rape, and domestic violence.

The latest of those suits, by producer Rodney "Lil Rod" Jones, who worked on Combs' latest release, was updated on Monday, to include actor Cuba Gooding Jr. as a defendant. Gooding Jr. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the suit, Jones alleges Combs groped Jones repeatedly during the making of the album, and that the rapper forced Jones to solicit sex workers, take illegal drugs and more. Jones added that he was also sexually harassed and assaulted by Gooding.

In a separate civil lawsuit from November 2023, singer Cassie Ventura, who had signed a 10-album deal with Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment when she was 19, accusedCombs of years of sexual misconduct, harassment, sex trafficking and rape. The suit was settled the day after it was filed.

Combs has not been criminally charged with any of the allegations.

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Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.