FBI agents in tactical gear on Wednesday raided the Los Angeles-area mansion home of YouTube star and social media influencer Jake Paul. The investigation stems from a looting spree at an upscale shopping mall in Scottsdale, Ariz., officials said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation also searched two locations in Las Vegas, but no one was taken into custody during the raids and no arrest warrant has been issued for Paul, the agency said.
Jake Paul, brother of prominent YouTuber Logan Paul, was not present when his home was searched, according to FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller.
Paul’s lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, in a statement acknowledged that his client’s home was searched and promised co-operation with the investigation.
Paul, whose viral YouTube video postings of provocative pranks have won him millions of followers, had no comment on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
An FBI spokesperson in Phoenix, Brooke Brennan, said agents were “investigating allegations of criminal acts surrounding the incident at Scottsdale Fashion Square in May.” She declined further comment because the search warrant was under court seal.
Civil disturbances in Scottsdale on May 30 grew out of demonstrations triggered by the George Floyd killing that week. Police said Paul took part in the unrest and was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly. He also was accused of illegally entering the shopping mall and remaining inside after it was closed.
Paul denied that he or anyone with him took part in looting or vandalism, and in a Twitter post said he was “documenting, not engaging” in lawlessness.
Local news video footage from the Wednesday raid showed officers removing what appeared to be several rifles from Paul’s mansion in Calabasas, Calif., about 50 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles.
Scottsdale police said separately that misdemeanour charges filed in June accusing Paul of criminal trespass and unlawful assembly in connection with the Fashion Square “riots” were dismissed on Wednesday in conjunction with the federal probe.
Misdemeanour charges from that incident were likewise dropped against two men police described as Paul’s associates, one of them a Las Vegas nightclub promoter.
Police said dismissal of those charges was tied to completing the federal investigation, adding that prosecutors could refile the case if warranted.