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How an expiring law helped Cassie’s lawsuit against Sean Combs happen

A settlement was announced Friday, as the Adult Survivors Act's one-year window is about to close next week.
Casandra Ventura and Sean "Diddy" Combs attend the The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala
Casandra Ventura and Sean "Diddy" Combs attend the the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala on May 7, 2018, in New York.John Shearer / Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter file

R&B singer Cassie and Sean "Diddy" Combs have agreed to a settlement just one day after she filed a lawsuit alleging that the rap mogul subjected her to years of sexual violence and physical abuse during and after their relationship.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Cassie, whose full name is Casandra Ventura, told NBC News in a statement that she "decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control." Combs told The Associated Press, "We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best."

Her lawsuit, filed Thursday, included allegations of rape, sex trafficking and physical and psychological abuse by Combs, whom she dated for nearly a decade and whose label she was signed to. Cassie alleged that Combs "asserted complete control over Ms. Ventura’s personal and professional life" and "demanded obedience, loyalty, and silence" from her. Combs denied the allegations, which his lawyer Ben Brafman called "offensive and outrageous" in a statement to NBC News.

Although Combs and Ventura settled swiftly, her lawsuit was possible in the first place because of New York's Adult Survivors Act (ASA), which is slated to expire next week. The law opened a one-year window for sexual violence survivors to file civil lawsuits against their abusers even if the statute of limitations had passed.

As of Nov. 16, 1,118 claims by 1,379 plaintiffs had been filed under the ASA in state court, the New York Office of Court Administration told me in an email. Another 1,469 claims had been filed in the Court of Claims as of Nov. 1, according to the OCA, the majority of them related to the New York Corrections Department.

Ventura cited the ASA in a statement when she filed her suit, saying "this was an opportunity to speak up about the trauma I have experienced and that I will be recovering from for the rest of my life,” according to NBC News.

The ASA has been a crucial tool for survivors of sexual abuse in New York to pursue legal avenues for justice, no matter when the alleged abuse occurred. In May, columnist E. Jean Carroll won a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump for battery and defamation after a jury found he sexually assaulted her in a department store dressing room in 1996. Carroll filed the suit against Trump on the first day the ASA went into effect.