Published January 19, 2008
LOS ANGELES – Four eyewitnesses support a man's assertion that Sean "Diddy" Combs assaulted him and his girlfriend at a post-Oscar party at a Hollywood nightclub last year, according to court papers filed by the plaintiff's attorney.
Marianna Ruiz, one of the witnesses deposed by an attorney for Gerard Rechnitzer, said in papers filed Wednesday that the rap and fashion mogul struck Rechnitzer unprovoked.
"I just kind of remember seeing him go flying, not flying as in like feet off the ground, but he went back significantly," said Ruiz, who was part of a group at the club with the Rechnitzer. "I was just in shock that somebody would ... just kind of strike somebody out of nowhere."
Another witness, Michael Sherman, said "all of a sudden, he hit him. And there was a taxi behind Gerard. Gerard got knocked into the taxi."
Sherman said Combs then tried to spit on Ruiz, who was standing nearby.
Rechnitzer seeks unspecified damages in the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last year.
He claims that he ran into Combs outside Teddy's at the Roosevelt Hotel in the early hours of Feb. 25.
The suit said Combs yelled at Rechnitzer "in a threatening and ominous manner" and "intentionally, willfully, knowingly and unlawfully attacked, assaulted and battered" him. The suit also alleges Combs pushed Rechnitzer's girlfriend.
Attorneys for Combs have called the suit "completely baseless" and in court papers filed Wednesday said he is "in no way legally responsible for what happened to Rechnitzer."
A message left for Combs attorney Hillary A. Jones after business hours Friday was not immediately returned.