A different sort of crowd amassed outside of YouTube star Jake Paul‘s mansion in Calabasas, Calif., on Wednesday morning. Rather than groups of raucous young people, which Paul is renowned for having at his home, this time it was a group of uniformed FBI agents — including a SWAT team — there to conduct a search of the property.
The FBI executed the 6 a.m. search warrant at the Calabasas home in connection with an ongoing investigation, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in a statement.
A judge sealed the search-warrant affidavit, and Eimiller said she couldn’t reveal the nature of the investigation or the person to whom it was served.
However, Jill McCabe, an FBI Phoenix field office spokeswoman, told The Washington Post that “the FBI is investigating allegations of criminal acts surrounding the incident at Scottsdale Fashion Square in May 2020. This morning the FBI executed federal search warrants in California and Las Vegas, Nevada, in connection with this investigation.”
The “incident” being referred to is a riot that took place at a Scottsdale, Ariz., shopping mall, which fired up during protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd in May. Paul and his production crew recorded the riot.
“We understand that a search warrant was executed at Jake’s Calabasas home this morning while Jake was out-of-state,” said Paul’s lawyer Richard Schonfeld. “We are still gathering information and will cooperate with the investigation.”
Video from local TV news helicopters showed agents gathering several rifles from the sprawling property with a boxing ring and hot tub in the backyard that appears in many of Paul’s recent YouTube videos.
What appeared to be multiple firearms were found scattered throughout the property, including what looked like a long gun propped up against a hot tub in the backyard. https://t.co/oOkiwY7kSz pic.twitter.com/ZeCXhPI5Aa
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) August 5, 2020
No arrests were made, despite the number of guns found on the property. It’s not immediately clear if the guns are registered or whether they belong to Paul.
Police in Scottsdale said Wednesday they were dismissing charges of criminal trespassing and unlawful assembly against Paul and two others “so that a federal criminal investigation can be completed,” but that they may be refiled later.
At the time, Paul defended his presence at the mall as activists criticized him for exploiting protests for hits and traffic.
“To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” he said in a statement the day after the riot. “I do not condone violence, looting or breaking the law.”
Last month, Calabasas mayor Alicia Weintraub chastised Paul after he threw a massive party in his mansion amid a coronavirus case spike in Los Angeles County. According to multiple media reports, there was minimal mask-wearing and virtually no attempts at social distancing.
NEW: The mayor of Calabasas & neighbors tell me they’re outraged after they say YouTube celebrity @jakepaul threw a massive party at his mansion on Saturday. They call it irresponsible, selfish, & say it’s businesses & workers who pay the price for this w/ lockdowns. 10pm @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/COiVleuDH2
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) July 15, 2020
“It’s just a big huge disregard for everything that everybody is trying to do to get things back to functioning,” said Weintraub at the time. “It’s really just a party acting like COVID does not exist; it’s acting that businesses aren’t closed.”
Apparently, Weintraub and Paul had a discussion, burying the hatchet without any charges being laid.
Paul, 23, has over 20 million followers on his YouTube channel, which features stunts, pranks, stories from his personal life, and more recently music videos.
He rose to fame on the short video app Vine and spent two years as an actor on the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark. (He was ousted from the Disney show following multiple complaints from his neighbours about increasingly wild stunts at his home.)
— With files from The Associated Press
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