NEW YORK – A man has accused Sean "Diddy" Combs of punching him out during a dispute at a trendy Manhattan nightspot, but the rap mogul's lawyer called it a harmless "disagreement."
Police were investigating the report of an assault early Saturday at the club in SoHo, but declined to identify any suspects.
Law enforcement officials confirmed news accounts Tuesday that Combs, 37, was the alleged assailant. Investigators were seeking to locate more witnesses before questioning Combs, said officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation hadn't not been completed.
In a statement, Combs' attorney denied any wrongdoing by his client.
"We hope this matter will be resolved without the filing of any criminal charges as it was a disagreement among acquaintances, not a criminal assault," said the attorney, Benjamin Brafman.
Police said the incident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. inside Kiosk nightclub. The 31-year-old man told police that he and Combs had been arguing over a woman before Combs punched him in the face, the officials said.
Earlier this month, a hip-hop promoter filed a $5 million lawsuit claiming Combs unleashed three violent bodyguards on him in another New York City nightspot. The lawsuit alleged that after the plaintiff spoke to Combs in The Box, one bodyguard punched him in the mouth, knocking him backward onto a table, and two others began hitting and kicking him continuously.
In 2001, a jury cleared Combs of firing a weapon during a 1999 dispute at a Times Square club that wounded three bystanders, and of bribing his chauffeur with money and jewelry to take the rap.
Combs recently placed third in "Hip-Hop Cash Kings" rankings by the Web site Forbes.com, which put his 2006 income at an estimated $28 million.
He has a clothing line, Sean John; heads Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group and its record label; and hosts MTV's "Making the Band" series.