Brendan Paul, Diddy's alleged 'mule,' pleads not guilty to cocaine charge in airport arrest

An alleged associate of the embattled music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs has pleaded not guilty to a drug possession charge in Florida court.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's office on Wednesday charged Brendan Paul, 25, with felony cocaine possession and dropped a second charge for possession of a controlled substance.

His attorney, Brian H. Bieber, appeared in court and entered the not guilty plea on Paul's behalf.

"We entered Brendan's plea of not guilty in Court today. We will be dealing with this case in the courtroom, not the court of public opinion," Bieber said in a statement shared with USA TODAY.

USA TODAY has reached out to the state attorney's office for comment.

Brian H. Bieber (center), Brendan Paul's attorney, entered a not guilty plea on Paul's behalf on Wednesday.
Brian H. Bieber (center), Brendan Paul's attorney, entered a not guilty plea on Paul's behalf on Wednesday.

According to court records reviewed by USA TODAY, a trial hearing for the case is scheduled for July 8.

The former Syracuse University basketball player was arrested by Miami-Dade Police Department officers at the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on March 25, the same day two of the Bad Boy Records founder's homes were raided by Homeland Security Investigations agents.

"The defendant had the contraband inside of his person travel bags, which he claimed prior to being searched," an arrest affidavit obtained by USA TODAY last month states. Upon testing, officers determined the substances were cocaine and edibles.

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The arrest was made as a result of a joint effort with Miami-Dade, the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, per the affidavit.

The next day, Paul was released on a $2,500 bond.

What is Brendan Paul's association with Diddy?

Paul is referred to as Combs' "mule" in Rodney "Lil Rod" Jones Jr.'s civil lawsuit against the Bad Boy founder and Cuba Gooding Jr. for sexual assault and harassment.

In an amended lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court for the southern district of New York last month, Jones claimed that Paul allegedly "procured, transported and distributed ecstasy, cocaine, GHB, ketamine, marijuana, mushrooms, and tuci by packing these substances in their carry-on luggage and going through TSA."

Tuci, also known as tusi, is described in the lawsuit as "a pink drug that is a combination of ecstasy and cocaine." According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information, "the majority of tusi samples contain ketamine, often combined with ... MDMA, methamphetamine, cocaine, opioids, and/or new psychoactive substances."

Sean "Diddy" Combs (R) arrives for the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in Newark, New Jersey, on Sept. 12, 2023.
Sean "Diddy" Combs (R) arrives for the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in Newark, New Jersey, on Sept. 12, 2023.

Paul was among one of Combs' employees who "would negotiate the fees the sex workers received and would ensure that the workers are paid," per Jones' filing.

Jones, who originally filed his lawsuit in February, worked with Combs on his most recent record, "The Love Album: Off the Grid." According to Jones, he and Combs worked together between September 2022 and November 2023, a partnership that resulted in nine songs on "The Love Album" for which Jones is credited as a producer.

Diddy has denied Jones' allegations against him.

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On the day of Paul's airport arrest, Combs' homes in Los Angeles and Miami were searched by Homeland Security Investigations as part of a federal investigation into the business mogul. Combs is also facing multiple lawsuits from accusers who've alleged the rapper and music mogul has raped or sexually assaulted them.

The day after Combs' homes were raided, attorney Aaron Dyer insisted on the rapper's innocence and criticized the federal invasion for its "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," Dyer said in a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday.

Contributing: Naledi Ushe

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Brendan Paul, Diddy's alleged 'mule,' pleads not guilty to drug charge