Tyrone A. Blackburn is representing 11 of now nearly 40 accusers who said they were drugged, sexually assaulted, kidnapped, threatened, or falsely imprisoned by the Atlanta-based duo. “If I was a prosecutor, I’d have brought charges already,” Blackburn said to The Daily Beast.
The controversy began on Jan. 26 when Atlanta-based women’s empowerment group founder Sabrina Peterson, a longtime associate of the couple, took to social media to accuse T.I. of putting a gun to her head in 2009 and threatening to kill her at a kids party. Afterward, messages from women who claimed the Atlanta MC and his wife sexually exploited them began filling up the comments underneath Peterson’s post.
On Feb. 28, Blackburn sent a letter to state and federal prosecutors in Georgia and California detailing allegations of abuse from his clients dating back to 2005. Among the accounts are a military veteran and a former employee of the couple. Blackburn requested an investigation be launched “to tackle and end the stream of depravity being committed.”
The letter stated the women did not know one another but recounted “eerily similar” experiences of “sexual abuse, forced ingestion of illegal narcotics, kidnapping, terroristic threats and false imprisonment.”
Blackburn, who followed the letter with a press conference on Monday, March 1, adding the “criminal allegations span over 15 years of methodical, sadistic abuse against women in various venues throughout the country.”
T.I. and Tiny vehemently denied the allegations in a statement from their lawyer Steve Sadow. “Clifford (T.I.) and Tameka Harris deny in the strongest possible terms these unsubstantiated and baseless allegations,” Sadow, said. “We fully expect 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 and now attempts to manipulate the press and misuse the justice system.”
Blackburn claimed Sadow tried “to make a deal” with him on the couple’s behalf, but he was unwilling to do so because he said his “clients want justice.”
T.I. and Tiny have also hit back against the allegations on social media. T.I. went live and denied the allegations, while simultaneously posting what he calls are evidence of “fake victims” being highlighted by Peterson.
Tiny posted a photo of Peterson’s sons with T.I. in a photo in effort to debunk Peterson’s account that she distanced herself from the family with whom she’d once been longtime friends.
“Hold up … So you want your abuser to train your sons? He was just uncle 2 years ago,” Tiny wrote in the caption. “Now when did you say my husband assaulted you? Did you change your mind or change it back?”
Peterson, who reportedly is among the 11 clients represented by Blackburn, is pursuing a separate action against the couple in the form of a defamation lawsuit filed last week. The claim, which also includes Tiny’s friend and hairstylist Shekinah Jones Anderson as a defendant, accuses the parties of making false statements about Peterson in their responses to her explosive accusations from January.
In the interim, it has been announced T.I. will not reprise his role in the third “Antman” film and MTV has halted production on the family’s reality show “T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle.”
Blackburn, who has yet to identify any of his clients except for Peterson, said conversations are taking place, but he could not divulge too many details prematurely.
“This is very sensitive, and I do not want the Harrises to get off on a technicality because I may have disclosed something prematurely or because something may have gotten out,” Blackburn said. “For me, the goal is to get justice for these women, hands down. This is not about money. This is not about clout.”