Diddy brands Cassie sex trafficking and rape allegations 'offensive and outrageous'

Rapper Sean Combs has been accused of sex trafficking and assault in a lawsuit filed in a New York court by R&B singer Cassie.

According to the complaint, Cassie - real name Casandra Ventura - alleges that she was trafficked, raped, plied with drugs and viciously beaten by the rapper on many occasions over the course of 10 years.

She alleges Combs, also known as Diddy, brought her into his "ostentatious, fast-paced and drug-fuelled lifestyle" not long after she met him and signed to his label in 2005.

Ventura, now 37, claims Combs began the abuse soon after.

The lawsuit also claims that Combs forced his way into her home and raped her as their relationship was ending in 2018.

In a statement, Ventura said: "After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships.

"With the expiration of New York's Adult Survivors Act fast approaching, it became clear that this was an opportunity to speak up about the trauma I have experienced and that I will be recovering from for the rest of my life."

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In a statement, a lawyer for the rapper said he "vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations".

They added: "Ms Ventura's demand of $30m (£24m), under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail.

"Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr Combs' reputation, and seeking a pay day."

Combs, 54, is among the most influential hip-hop producers and executives of the past three decades.

This year, he released his fifth studio album The Love Album: Off the Grid which earned two Grammy nominations this month.

He and Ventura began dating in 2007 and had an on-and-off relationship for more than a decade.

She became known for the Ryan Leslie-produced hit single Me & U, which secured the No 1 spot on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart in 2006. The song was the lead single of her only studio album, which was self-titled.

As an actor, she has appeared in several television and films projects including Fox's Empire, Step Up 2:The Streets and Spenser Confidential.