Entertainment

T.I. and Tiny under investigation by Los Angeles police for sexual-assault and drugging claims

The multiplatinum rapper T.I., born Clifford Harris, and his wife, Tameka Harris, an R&B singer known as Tiny, are the subjects of an active criminal investigation in Los Angeles following claims that they drugged and sexually assaulted women there, authorities said on Tuesday.

Tyrone A. Blackburn, a lawyer representing multiple women who have made accusations against the Harrises in several states, said that one of his clients had met virtually last month with detectives for the Los Angeles Police Department regarding an incident that occurred in 2005.

A police spokesman, Officer Jader Chaves, confirmed that the investigation into T.I. and Ms. Harris was active.

The woman, a military veteran who requested anonymity to protect her family, said in an earlier interview with The New York Times that she met the famous couple in the V.I.P. section of a Los Angeles club.

Ms. Harris offered her a sip of a drink that the veteran later came to believe was spiked with a drug that left her incapacitated. T.I. and Ms. Harris then raped her in a hotel room, the woman said, calling the incident a life-altering trauma. The couple has denied any instances of non-consensual sex.

The statute of limitations for most rape cases in Los Angeles before 2017 is typically 10 years.

But Mr. Blackburn noted that there are exceptions allowing the authorities to pursue older cases, as they did recently when they brought charges against Harvey Weinstein related to an incident that took place more than a decade ago.

The Los Angeles police declined to discuss the investigation except to confirm that it was active. News of the investigation was first published by The Daily Beast.

Steve Sadow, a lawyer for T.I. and Ms. Harris, said that they had not been contacted by the Los Angeles police or “any member of law enforcement from any other jurisdiction in the country.” Mr. Sadow added that the woman’s anonymity was “preventing us from being in a position to disprove or refute her allegations — or even examine them.”

In February, Mr. Blackburn sent letters to law enforcement authorities in Georgia and California calling for criminal inquiries on behalf of 11 people who said they had been victimized by the Atlanta-based couple or members of their entourage.

The letters described “eerily similar” experiences of “sexual abuse, forced ingestion of illegal narcotics, kidnapping, terroristic threats and false imprisonment” at the hands of T.I., Ms. Harris and their associates.

At the time, representatives for the couple called the claims “a sordid shakedown campaign.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Blackburn said he was pleased by the progress of the investigation in Los Angeles. The identities of the women “are known to law enforcement, and that’s what matters,” he said. “We await further updates from the L.A.P.D.”

In addition to the military veteran who spoke with investigators, Mr. Blackburn said in an interview that he represented at least two additional clients who wished to speak with the Los Angeles police.

One woman, Rachelle Jenks, originally met T.I. and Ms. Harris in Las Vegas in 2010, when she said she was drugged and sexually assaulted, according to a police report filed there this month. Ms. Jenks said she was then transported to Los Angeles by the couple and again forced to engage in sex acts. Mr. Blackburn said that he expected her case to be referred to the Los Angeles police.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed in a statement that it had received a claim of sexual assault involving the couple, but said that the incident fell outside of the statute of limitations for the crime. “Based on this, the case was closed, which is standard procedure for crimes reported outside of the statute,” the Las Vegas police said.

A third woman, referred to anonymously in Mr. Blackburn’s letters to law enforcement, was an old friend of Ms. Harris who started working for the celebrity couple in 2005, traveling with them from Atlanta to Los Angeles as part of their entourage.

Mr. Blackburn wrote in the letters that the couple had “forced her to engage in sexual acts with different women against her will,” and the woman confirmed that account in interviews with The Times.

In addition to his success in music, T.I., 40, has reinvented himself as a businessman and community leader in Atlanta, and he has starred in reality shows that focus on his parenting of a blended family with Ms. Harris, 45. Production of the show “T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle” was postponed by VH1 and MTV Entertainment following the sexual assault allegations earlier this year.

Source: nytimes.com

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