Cassie breaks silence on Sean 'Diddy' Combs assault video as his legal troubles grow

Examining the rap mogul's long list of legal woes.

Music artist Cassie Ventura at the VHI awards.
Cassie is speaking out about the video showing Diddy attacking her in a hotel in 2016. (Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Casandra "Cassie" Ventura has broken her silence nearly one week after the 2016 hotel surveillance video of her ex-boyfriend Sean “Diddy” Combs assaulting her surfaced.

“The outpouring of love has created a place for my younger self to settle and feel safe now, but this is only the beginning," she wrote on Instagram on May 23. “Domestic violence is THE issue. It broke me down to someone I never thought I would become. With a lot of hard work, I am better today, but I will always be recovering from my past."

The singer called for people showing their support now to "open your heart to believing victims the first time."

Kelly Rowland, Taraji P. Henson, Chloe Bailey and Jeannie Mai were among the many stars to show support for Ventura in the comments. Her husband, Alex Fine, wrote: "Love you so much, perfect example for our daughters."

Ventura accused Combs of physical abuse, rape and sex trafficking in a November lawsuit that was quickly settled. The rap mogul, who denied the allegations, did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. After the video was published by CNN on May 17, Combs — who was seen kicking, hitting and dragging Ventura after she exited their hotel room in the now-closed InterContinental Hotel in Century City, Calif. — posted an apology taking “full responsibility” for the assault and calling his behavior “inexcusable.”

What to know about Sean "Diddy" Combs's legal problems in the wake of a 2016 hotel assault video. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Her legal team dismissed his apology. “When Cassie and multiple other women came forward, he denied everything and suggested that his victims were looking for a payday,” said Meredith Firetog, one of her attorneys. “That he was only compelled to ‘apologize’ once his repeated denials were proven false shows his pathetic desperation, and no one will be swayed by his disingenuous words.”

Over the past week, Combs — who had two of his mansions raided by feds in March amid a sex trafficking investigation — has seen his legal troubles escalate. Former model Crystal McKinney alleged in a new lawsuit that he drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2003.

Since's Ventura's lawsuit last year, four others have filed civil lawsuits against him, alleging sexual assault, sex trafficking and other claims. His lawyer has vowed to "continue to fight every single day to clear his name."

It’s been nearly two months since Combs had two of his homes raided amid a federal sex trafficking investigation. While there are no updates on that case, it’s far from his only legal crisis.

After Ventura — who dated Combs for a decade before they split in 2018 — filed and settled her explosive lawsuit against him, two other women slapped him with civil suits that month, also under New York Adult Survivors Act. The ASA allowed people who said they experienced sexual assault a one-year window to take legal action even though the statute of limitations has expired.

  • Plaintiff Joi Dickerson-Neal, in a lawsuit filed Nov. 23, 2023, accused Combs of drugging and raping her in New York City in 1991 when she was a college student. She also accused him of engaging in revenge porn, filming the assault and sharing it with people in the music industry. In April, Combs filed a motion to dismiss the sex trafficking allegation in the case.

  • The same day Dickerson-Neal’s case was filed, Liza Gardner also sued Combs, alleging that he and R&B singer-songwriter Aaron Hall took turns raping her and a friend after they met at an 1990 event at the New York office of MCA Records. Gardner was 16 at the time. The lawsuit was amended in March with Gardner claiming she was “physically forced into having sex with Combs against her will.’”

A fourth lawsuit was filed in December under New York’s Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law, giving survivors of alleged gender-motivated violence, including sexual abuse, until March 1, 2025, to make claims.

  • The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, filed a suit against Combs alleging sex trafficking and gang rape in 2003, when she was a 17. She claimed in the Dec. 6 filing that Combs and two other men plied her with “copious amounts of drugs and alcohol,” then raped her in a bathroom at Combs's studio.

Combs issued a blanket denial of the allegations, saying he “watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy,” but “enough is enough.” A fifth lawsuit followed in early 2024.

  • On February 26, Combs was sued by Rodney "Lil Rod" Jones, a producer on his 2023 album, for sexual harassment and assault. Jones claimed he was drugged, waking up naked and disoriented in bed with Combs and two sex workers. He also claimed to have witnessed Combs and others “engaging in serious illegal activity,” including sex trafficking underage sex workers and drugging them. Jones amended his lawsuit in March removing some defendants as well as adding Cuba Gooding Jr. Combs called Jones’s lawsuit “pure fiction.”

After the video of Combs assaulting Ventura was published, a fifth woman sued him.

  • On May 21, McKinney filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York under the state's Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law, alleging that Combs drugged and sexually assaulted her at his New York City studio in 2003. McKinney, who was a 22-year-old model at the time, also claims Combs “blackballed” her in the modeling industry.

Almost exactly one month after Jones’s lawsuit, Combs’s residences were raided. Here’s everything that’s happened since.

March 25: Diddy’s homes in L.A. and on Star Island in Miami Beach, Fla., are raided related to a sex trafficking investigation. The sole arrest is of Diddy’s assistant, Brendan Paul, for possession of cocaine and marijuana. Jones’s lawsuit alleged that Paul was Combs's “mule” who acquires and distributes his drugs and guns.

Homeland Security Ivestigations agents are seen outside the home of US producer and musician Sean
Homeland Security agents raided Combs's Florida and California homes on March 25. (David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images)

March 26: Diddy’s attorney slams Homeland Security’s “gross overuse of military-level force.” He calls it an “unprecedented ambush” and “witch hunt,” saying it “leads to a premature rush to judgment” and that there “has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations.”

April 2: Misa Hylton — the mother of Combs’s son Justin, who was at his father’s California home when it was raided — shares footage from the raids and rips the government's “overtly militarized force.”

April 3: It’s reported that Ventura is cooperating with feds.

April 5: Diddy shares a clip from his old music video for “Victory” in which he evades the police.

May 12: Diddy’s son Christian, also a defendant in Jones’s civil lawsuit, releases a "diss" track titled "Pick a Side," which references the raids.

May 15: Combs posts on Instagram: “Time tells truth.”

May 16: Combs’s alleged drug mule Paul takes a plea deal to avoid jail time.

May 17: CNN releases a 2016 hotel surveillance video in which Combs is striking and kicking Cassie. The Los Angeles DA says Combs can’t be prosecuted.

May 19: Combs apologizes two days after the assault video is made public.

Updated, May 23, 2024, 10:15 a.m. ET: This story has been updated to include Ventura speaking out.