A lawyer representing 11 accusers is seeking a criminal investigation against rapper T.I., his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris and their associates, saying the accusers were allegedly subjected to “methodical, sadistic abuse” over a period of 15 years. A lawyer for the couple has denied all claims of abuse.
Attorney Tyrone Blackburn said Sunday he is representing 11 people who allege ”forced drugging, kidnapping, rape, and intimidation in at least two states, including California and Georgia” against T.I. (whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.) and Tameka “Tiny” Harris, as well as members of their inner circle. Blackburn said he has also been in contact with witnesses of the alleged abuse.
“These criminal allegations span over 15 years of methodical, sadistic abuse against women in various venues throughout the country,” reads a release from Blackburn provided to USA TODAY. “These individual claims paint eerily consistent allegations of women prior to or upon immediately entering (the Harrises’) home, hotel, or tour bus (who) were coerced by Tiny to ingest drugs or unknowingly administered drugs to impair the victims’ ability to consent to subsequent vile sexual acts.”
Steve Sadow, counsel for the couple, denied all allegations in a statement to USA TODAY.
“Clifford (T.I.) and Tameka Harris deny in the strongest possible terms these unsubstantiated and baseless allegations,” he said. ”We are confident that if these claims are thoroughly and fairly investigated, no charges will be forthcoming. These allegations are nothing more than the continuation of a sordid shakedown campaign that began on social media. The Harrises implore everyone not to be taken in by these obvious attempts to manipulate the press and misuse the justice system.”
Blackburn sent criminal referrals to U.S. and state attorneys in Georgia and California, as well as the Los Angeles District Attorney Office, requesting criminal probes, the release noted. A representative for the Georgia Attorney General’s office confirmed they had received the request but declined further comment. USA TODAY has also reached out to the California Attorney General’s office.
Separately, Blackburn is representing a woman who says she has a 10-year history with the couple and is alleging T.I. held a gun to her head after an altercation with his assistant. Sabrina Peterson is suing the couple for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress among other things. She previously took her allegations to social media, leading other women to come forward to Blackburn. T.I. denied her allegations on his social accounts.
T.I. said in an eight-minute long video statement shared on Instagram in January he was speaking out because it had been “extremely difficult” for him to remain silent in light of “all of the egregious allegations that’s been just tossed around about me and my wife.”
After praising and defending his wife, the rapper said he’s not going to “open the door to my bedroom” and divulge intimate details about the couple’s sex life.
“But I will say this. Whatever we ever have done, has been done with consensual adults. … We ain’t never forced nobody, we ain’t never drugged nobody against their will, we ain’t never held nobody against their will, we ain’t never made nobody do anything,” T.I. said. “I ain’t never raped nobody, never raped nobody.”
Allegations from various accusers, identified only by aliases out of “fear for their lives and safety,” range from 2005 to the present. One accuser said via Blackburn she was 17 and working as an intern for the couple in their Atlanta studio when she was allegedly given alcohol by the Harrises that caused her to “hallucinate,” pass out and wake up after being raped. The woman said she was told to “keep her mouth shut” and take emergency contraception.
Sadow, the couple’s lawyer, said in a statement Monday to USA TODAY that Blackburn “repeatedly refused to provide the names of his accuser-clients or any corroborating or supporting evidence of his groundless claims.”
“The Harrises repeat that they are confident if a thorough and fair investigation is conducted, no charges will be brought,” Sadow added.
In his January video statement, T.I. said that women who’ve been victimized should be encouraged to come forward, feel comfortable telling their story and be supported when doing so, but added “this is not that.”
“One thing I know, I will not be bullied,” he said. ”I am not afraid. I am not ashamed. The truth will be revealed.”
Late Monday, hollywoodreporter.com reported that T.I. would not be among the cast returning for the feature film “Ant-Man 3.”
Contributing: Rasha Ali
Read more at usatoday.com