Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs apologizes over video of assault: ‘I hit rock bottom’

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 02: Model Cassie Ventura (L) and recording artist Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs arrive at "Mayweather VS Pacquiao" presented by SHOWTIME PPV And HBO PPV at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for SHOWTIME)  (Ethan Miller)
By Herb Scribner Washington Post

Sean “Diddy” Combs apologized Sunday for an assault on singer Cassie Ventura at a Los Angeles hotel that was caught on video first published last week by CNN.

“It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life, but sometimes you got to do that,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “… I mean I hit rock bottom - but I make no excuses.

“My behavior on that video is inexcusable,” he added. “I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I’m disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it, I’m disgusted now.”

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “… I’m not asking for forgiveness. I’m truly sorry.”

An attorney for Ventura, Meredith Firetog, responded to Combs’ video in a statement: “Combs’ most recent statement is more about himself than the many people he has hurt,” the statement read. “When Cassie and multiple other women came forward, he denied everything and suggested that his victims were looking for a payday. 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.”

Diddy’s comments appear to confirm footage obtained and published by CNN on Friday. The video shows Ventura exiting a hotel room and walking down a hallway before a man in a towel runs after her and assaults her. CNN and Ventura’s attorney said the footage confirmed the allegations that Ventura made against Diddy in a lawsuit that was settled in November.

“The gut-wrenching video has only further confirmed the disturbing and predatory behavior of Mr. Combs,” Ventura’s attorney Douglas Wigdor said in a statement Friday.

Representatives for Combs did not respond to a request for comment.

CNN’s published video, an edited compilation of security footage, appeared to show Combs running after his then-girlfriend, Ventura, in a hallway at the now-shuttered InterContinental Hotel in the Century City area of Los Angeles. Ventura, an R&B singer known as Cassie, had been in a lengthy relationship with Combs and was signed to his record label, Bad Boy Records.

The footage appeared to show Combs grabbing Ventura as she attempted to call for the elevator. He threw her to the floor and kicked her before picking up her belongings and dragging her away off-screen. Other parts of the footage appeared to show Combs shoving Ventura into a corner and later throwing a vase across a room.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Friday that it could not press charges against Combs over the video footage because the incident occurred “beyond the timeline where a crime of assault can be prosecuted.”

“Law enforcement has not presented a case (against Combs) related to the attack depicted in the video,” the statement said.

The video footage seemed to confirm a similar event described in Ventura’s lawsuit against Combs from November, which accused the music mogul of physical and sexual abuse, as well as sex trafficking. According to the lawsuit, Combs paid the hotel where the incident took place $50,000 for the security footage.

At the time of the lawsuit, Combs’ attorney accused Ventura of “filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies.”

“Mr. Combs’ decision to settle the lawsuit does not in any way undermine his flat-out denial of the claims,” Combs’ lawyer said in November.

Ventura’s allegations were the first of multiple sexual assault lawsuits against Combs in recent months. Combs has been accused of sexual abuse in five lawsuits, some of which include allegations of sex trafficking and drugging his alleged victims. Combs has not been charged with any crimes and has denied all wrongdoing.

“He views these lawsuits as a money grab. Because of Mr. Combs’ fame and success, he is an easy target for accusers who attempt to smear him,” his attorney said in a statement to the Washington Post in May.

In March, Combs offered a similar denial in an Instagram post: “Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth.”

- - -

Janay Kingsberry and Anne Branigin contributed to this report.