The Atlanta rapper T.I., born Clifford Harris, was sued on Tuesday, along with his wife, Tameka Harris, known as Tiny, by a woman who accused the couple of drugging and raping her after she met them at a Los Angeles nightclub around 2005.
In the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, which extended the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims, the woman is identified only as Jane Doe, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, who was 22 or 23 years old at the time. She previously gave her account of the alleged assault and its aftermath in an interview with The New York Times in 2021, when she spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her family.
In her lawsuit, the woman accuses Mr. Harris, 43, and Ms. Harris, 48, of sexual battery, battery, sexual assault, negligence, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and is seeking damages.
In a statement provided by a lawyer for the couple, Andrew B. Brettler, Mr. and Ms. Harris denied the accusations, calling the civil suit a shakedown. “This plaintiff has been threatening to file this lawsuit for three years,” the statement said. “For three years, we have emphatically and categorically denied these allegations. For three years we have maintained our innocence and refused to pay these extortionate demands for things we didn’t do.”
They added, “We are innocent of these fake claims, we will not be shaken down and we look forward to our day in court.”
Prosecutors in Los Angeles had previously declined to pursue criminal charges against the Harrises in this incident, citing the statute of limitations. “Without the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence being evaluated, the case is declined due to the expiration,” the Los Angeles County authorities wrote in a charge evaluation filing in September 2021.
That investigation occurred as numerous accusations of sexual abuse and assault surfaced against the couple in news reports and on social media, with a lawyer approaching law enforcement authorities in California and Georgia seeking criminal inquiries on behalf of 11 people who said they were victimized by the Harrises or members of their entourage. At least four women accused the celebrity pair of drugging and sexually assaulting them.
The couple denied the charges at the time and no charges were ever filed.
In her lawsuit, the military veteran says she was invited with a friend to the V.I.P. section of a Los Angeles club to meet T.I. and Tiny, a member of the R&B group Xscape, by a member of the couple’s entourage, a man known as Caviar. Ms. Harris, who was not yet married to T.I. at the time, offered the two women a taste of a drink and both sipped it, according to the suit.
The two women were then invited, along with others, to a hotel room, where they believed the party would continue; the military veteran traveled there with the celebrity couple and her friend rode with Caviar.
At the hotel, the suit says, the other guests were soon asked to leave, and the veteran was left alone with the couple, who proceeded to shower with her and begin massaging her as she started to feel “extremely dizzy and lightheaded,” according to the suit. “Plaintiff could tell she was experiencing something serious and debilitating that was not a symptom of a typical drink or few drinks.”
The woman says she recalls being penetrated by Mr. Harris’s toes, and telling him no, before she started to vomit and “passed out until the following morning,” according to the lawsuit. The woman awoke in pain, the suit says, and rejoined her friend, who had remained separated from her after they left the club.
In interviews with The Times in 2021, both women said they immediately recounted their memories of the previous night to each other. Another longtime friend of the veteran, who spoke to her within days of the events, confirmed in an interview that the veteran had described the hotel experience as a non-consensual act in which she had been drugged, and did not waver from that account when they discussed it in later years.
“Even after all these years, the embarrassment, shame, depression — it still lingers,” Rodney S. Diggs, a lawyer for the woman, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Silencing women silences justice. No longer will my client remain silent; we are now seeking justice for her and everyone who has been similarly violated.”