Russell Simmons and producer Brett Ratner were questioned by the Beverly Hills Police Department in 2001 for alleged sexual battery, though prosecutors declined to press charges, and Simmons has since released a statement denying any wrongdoing.
The victim, who has not been identified, alleged that two men had held her against her will and touched her unlawfully. She claimed that it had happened that morning, Nov. 3, 2001, at a home on the block where Ratner’s home is located.
However, prosecutors cited a lack of sufficient evidence as their reason for not pursuing the case.
Simmons has since issued a statement saying, “This is an important and critical time for the empowerment of women and men who have been harassed. I have been a public figure for all of my adult life. And when you are in that arena over decades, you can find yourself in a position where you are vulnerable and susceptible to claims that are untrue.”
Ratner’s criminal attorney, Harland Braun, confirmed that an investigation had taken place and that Simmons and Ratner had cooperated. However, Braun noted that the police had told him that the victim, a model, had made accusations against other celebrities, thus undermining her credibility.
“It wasn’t rape or anything. It was sexual battery,” Braun said. “This is not her first rodeo… I don’t think there’s anything here. This is a girl that had such a checkered history.” Braun summarized Ratner and Simmons’ account of the incident as follows: “We know her. She came to our house. Nothing happened. She’s making up a story.”