Vince McMahon, WWE under Department of Justice investigation, sex trafficking lawsuit paused

The ongoing lawsuit from a former WWE employee regarding allegations of sex trafficking and sexual assault has been paused as the Department of Justice opens its own investigation into disgraced WWE founder Vince McMahon, WWE, and ex-WWE head of talent relations John Laurinaitis.

In a sealed filing on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District Of New York presented information to the Federal court about a probe into McMahon, WWE, and Laurinaitis.

“In addition to counsel already of record, please enter my appearance as counsel for the United States of America, Sarah Mortazavi, Assistant United States Attorney,” Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote in a note filed to Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer added to the case docket.

As a result, Janel Grant, the ex-WWE employee who filed the explosive lawsuit against her former employers, agreed to pause her case as the Department of Justice opens its own probe.

“Ms. Grant has consented to a request by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to stay her case against Mr. McMahon, WWE and Mr. Laurinaitis, pursuant to a pending non-public investigation,” Grant’s attorney Ann Callis said in a statement sent to MMA Fighting on Thursday. “We will cooperate with all appropriate next steps.”

The lawsuit filed by Grant in January detailed allegations of horrific abuses, which included sexual assault, sex trafficking, and exploitation that she claims she suffered while working for McMahon at WWE. Grant detailed numerous alleged altercations in her lawsuit, including a claim that McMahon and Laurinaitis pulled her into a conference room at the WWE offices and sexually assaulted her.

The lawsuit also alleged that McMahon shared sexually explicit photos and videos of her with other WWE employees, as well as “a world-famous athlete and former UFC heavyweight champion with whom WWE was actively trying to sign to a new contract.”

McMahon, who resigned as executive chairman of TKO Group Holdings after the lawsuit went public, has denied all wrongdoing.

In the months since the lawsuit was filed, McMahon has slowly continued to sell off chunks of his stock in TKO, which is the merged company between UFC and WWE.

TKO has distanced itself from McMahon, with company president Mark Shapiro stating there has been no contact with the former WWE executive as he continued selling his stock.

“We’re not having any discussion with him,” Shapiro said in March. “He’s given us no point of view on his motive, or his plans to sell or not sell, or if he does, how much. So, we’re going to wait around and find out just like you.”

The sealed filing from the Department of Justice proves the importance of this investigation, especially with Grant’s lawsuit being paused as a result.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District Of New York has yet to make a public statement regarding the probe into McMahon and WWE.

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