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American DJ Diplo Faces Legal Battle Over Revenge Porn Allegations

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Hadeel Hashem
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American DJ Diplo Faces Legal Battle Over Revenge Porn Allegations

American DJ, Diplo, born Thomas Wesley Pentz, is embroiled in a convoluted legal dispute with Shelly Auguste, a 27-year-old woman accusing him of distributing explicit photographs of her without her consent. The escalating conflict, which initially surfaced as a lawsuit in 2021, involves a series of allegations against Diplo, including sexual battery, assault, defamation, and fraud.

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The Counter-Lawsuit

Diplo retaliated by countersuing Auguste in the Los Angeles Superior Court, securing a $1.2 million judgment. He alleges that Auguste threatened to release revenge porn and persistently contacted his family members without invitation. The latest case, brought to the Los Angeles city attorney's office by the LAPD in November, sees Auguste piling on additional charges. These include battery, assault, defamation, emotional distress, and fraud, along with violations of the Ralph and Tom Bane Civil Rights Acts.

The Legal Tug-of-War

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Diplo's lawyer, Bryan J. Freedman, argues that Auguste has been orchestrating a smear campaign against the DJ for over three years. This claim echoes a previous incident in 2020 when Auguste sought a restraining order against Diplo for distributing revenge porn, to which Diplo responded by seeking an injunction, alleging that Auguste was leaking his explicit photos. Auguste first made her accusations public via a Twitter post in October 2020, subsequently obtaining a restraining order to prevent Diplo from distributing explicit content. She also accused him of filming explicit content without her permission.

What Lies Ahead

High-profile attorney Lisa Bloom, noted for her previous advisory role to Harvey Weinstein, represented Auguste in 2020. The ongoing legal battle, now highlighting issues of consent, privacy, and the application of civil rights legislation in personal disputes, is scheduled for a civil trial in April 2024.

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