CEO Of Universal Music Group, Lucian Grainge Named In P. Diddy Sex Trafficking Scandal; Lawyer Responds

Attorneys for Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge fired back at a lawsuit that claims he and the label “aided and abetted” Sean “Diddy” Combs in his alleged sexual abuse, saying the accusations are so “offensively false” that they plan to seek legal penalties against the lawyer who filed them.

In a motion to dismiss all claims against UMG and Grainge, the label’s lawyers blasted attorney Tyrone Blackburn for filing “knowingly false allegations” of criminal wrongdoing “without the slightest factual or legal basis.” They said they would seek so-called sanctions against him in a future filing.

“A license to practice law is a privilege,” wrote Donald Zakarin, a longtime music industry litigator who represents UMG and Grainge. “Mr. Blackburn, plaintiff’s lawyer, has misused that license to self-promote, gratuitously, falsely and recklessly accusing the UMG defendants of criminal behavior.”

The Wednesday filing came in response to a lawsuit filed last month by a producer named Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones, who says the rapper sexually assaulted and harassed him. The lawsuit is one of several abuse cases filed against Combs, in addition to an apparent federal criminal investigation that led to raids of his homes this week. Combs has strongly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

But the case filed by Jones went far beyond a simple assault claim, arguing that Diddy, Grainge and many others had also violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – the federal RICO statute that’s more often used in criminal cases against mobsters and drug cartels. He also accused the various defendants of violating federal sex trafficking laws.

In Wednesday’s filing, UMG’s lawyers said those claims were “entirely invented by Mr. Blackburn.”

“The [complaint] hurls accusations of criminal racketeering and criminal sex trafficking against the UMG defendants, respected individuals and companies having utterly nothing to do with plaintiff’s claims,” Zakarin wrote Wednesday’s filings. “These accusations are recklessly false and, but for the fact that they are embodied in a complaint, would be libelous.”

In addition to the original allegations, UMG’s lawyers also sharply criticized Blackburn for filing a second, updated complaint this week – a filing that they claim drastically altered the allegations. In his filing, Zakarin called it the worst lawyering he had seen in nearly 50 years as an attorney.

“In all that time, I have never seen any attorney display anything remotely like the utter indifference shown by Mr. Blackburn towards his obligations as an attorney,” Zakarin wrote. “I have never seen any lawyer, in any pleading, in any court, accuse people and companies of criminal conduct without the slightest basis and then try to file an amended pleading completely jettisoning every allegation underpinning the original claims and substituting completely different and irreconcilable allegations to support the very same claims.”

In a letter to the judge Thursday, Blackburn responded to the UMG motion by calling it a “public relations stunt” that had been filed in bad faith. “They did not have any issues marrying themselves to Mr. Combs when it was popular. Now, suddenly … they are treating Mr. Combs like he has the plague,” Blackburn wrote in the letter.

In a statement to Billboard on Thursday, Blackburn said: “UMG should produce their financial records. Let’s see what the money was used for. Stop trying to escape liability.”

A spokesman for UMG did not immediately return a request for comment on the motion.

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