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T.I. and Tiny deny abuse allegations as defamation case is filed against them in L.A.

Christie D'Zurilla, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

A lawyer for a number of women who allege rapper T.I. and wife Tiny drugged and sexually abused them is calling for investigations of the Atlanta couple in Georgia and California.

Attorney Tyrone A. Blackburn said in a release Sunday that he had been contacted by more than 30 "women, survivors and witnesses" who had allegations of "forced drugging, kidnapping, rape, and intimidation" against the couple, whose real names are Clifford Harris and Tameka Harris. The allegations span more than 15 years, according to Blackburn.

On behalf of Sabrina Peterson, Blackburn filed a defamation case Monday in L.A. County Superior Court against Tiny, T.I. and hairstylist Shekinah Anderson, one of Tiny's best friends.

Peterson is the woman who first leveled accusations against T.I. via Instagram in January. She alleged that he held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her in 2009.

"What started off a comment turned into a calling!," she posted a few days later. "Too many victims to turn my back! I didn't know how many women he truly hurt & didn't know what made me finally say something. Nonetheless, I'm blessed that I did."

Atlanta attorney Steve Sadow said in a statement Monday on behalf of the Harrises that they "deny in the strongest possible terms these unsubstantiated and baseless allegations."

He added, "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."

 

On Monday, the New York Times published an article that included further details of accusations against the couple, who appeared for six seasons on the VH1 reality show "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle." In early February, production of a new VH1 series, "T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle," was shut down in the wake of the allegations, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The NYT said it spoke with five people who alleged — according to letters Blackburn said he sent to legal officials in California and Georgia — they were "drugged, raped or sexually assaulted by the Harrises or those in their orbit." The news outlet also spoke to others who said they were told of the alleged episodes soon afterward. The NYT said that in three of the cases, it had reviewed messages or photos supporting the timelines of events.

On Jan. 29, T.I. denied the allegations in an eight-minute video posted to his own social media account, in which he said, "Women who have been victimized deserve to be heard. Women, Black women in particular, should be supported, protected, defended and uplifted. However, evil has no gender ... a threat comes in all shapes and sizes."

He also said he wasn't about to throw open the doors of his bedroom to the public "for everyone to come in and chime in and make their opinions about what we do or don't do ... but I will say this. Whatever we ever have done has been done with consensual adults who are into what we're into and like what we like."

In a statement released by their publicists to the AJC in early February, the Harrises denied Peterson's "appalling" allegations, saying they "have had difficulty with this woman for well over a decade." They said they would take appropriate legal action if the allegations continued.

After dating since 2001, T.I. and Tiny married in 2010, shortly after the rapper — who also goes by the name Tip — finished a federal prison sentence of a year and a day on weapons charges. They have three children together, two boys and a girl, and T.I. is stepfather to Tiny's daughter from a previous relationship. He also has two sons and a daughter from prior relationships.

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