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    Wednesday, June 19, 2024

    Cassie says Sean 'Diddy' Combs' violence 'broke me down' after assault video surfaces

    Los Angeles — For Casandra "Cassie" Ventura, who sued ex-boyfriend and embattled music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs for alleged assault and abuse, "it takes a lot of heart to tell the truth out of a situation that you were powerless in."

    The 37-year-old singer on Thursday opened up about her experience with domestic violence and the support she has received since video of Combs assaulting Ventura surfaced last week. She wrote in an Instagram statement that the "outpouring of love has created a place for my younger self to settle and feel safe, but this is only the beginning."

    She added: "Domestic Violence is THE issue. It broke me down to someone I never thought I would become."

    Last week, CNN published security footage from 2016 of Combs kicking, grabbing, dragging and throwing a glass vase at Ventura at a Los Angeles hotel. Months before the damning footage came to light, Ventura detailed the assault in a lawsuit filed in November 2023. In her complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, Ventura alleged that Combs "became extremely intoxicated and punched" her in the face, "giving her a black eye" during an attack in March 2016. Combs denied her allegations and the lawsuit was settled a day after it was filed.

    The video "further confirmed the disturbing and predatory behavior of Mr. Combs," Douglas H. Wigdor, Ventura's lawyer, told The Times in a statement last week.

    Despite his initial denials, Combs issued an apology Sunday, saying in an Instagram post, "I take full responsibility for my actions in that video." He faced more backlash as critics, including Ventura's legal team and Combs' ex-bodyguard, questioned his sincerity.

    Ventura, who grew up in New London, said that despite the "hard work" she has done to move forward from the 2016 incident, "I will always be recovering from my past." She also urged her followers and supporters to "open your heart to believing victims the first time."

    Roger Bonds, who served on Combs' security staff from 2003 to 2012, said in a recent interview that he witnessed the Grammy winning hip-hop star get violent with women "around four or five times" during his tenure. Ventura's lawsuit names Bonds as someone who "tried to stop" Combs from beating his then-girlfriend in a 2009 incident.

    Bonds, speaking to Piers Morgan earlier this week, also said Cassie was not the only woman to suffer physical violence from Combs. He alleged that Combs was also physically violent to the late model and actor Kim Porter, with whom Combs shares three children.

    In her Instagram post, Ventura did not name her former on-again, off-again partner of 11 years, but she extended a hand to "those that are still living in fear." She encouraged victims to "reach out to your people, don't cut them off."

    "No one should carry this weight alone," she added, before noting that "this healing journey is never ending."

    Ventura is one of six people who have sued Combs for sexual assault, among other allegations, in recent months. On Tuesday, model Crystal McKinney sued Combs, alleging he forced her to perform oral sex at his music studio in 2003.

    Amid all the lawsuits, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents conducted searches of Combs' Holmby Hills and Miami mansions in March as part of a federal inquiry into sex trafficking allegations involving Combs.

    Aaron Dyer, one of Combs' lawyers, called the raids a "witch hunt" in a March statement.

    L.A. Times staff writers Nardine Saad and Richard Winton contributed to this report.

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