YouTube star Jake Paul's Los Angeles-area home raided by FBI

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES, Aug 5 (Reuters) - FBI agents in tactical gear on Wednesday raided the Los Angeles-area mansion home of YouTube star and social media influencer Jake Paul in an investigation stemming from a looting spree at an upscale shopping mall in Scottsdale, Arizona, 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.

Paul, 23, was not at his home when it was searched, according to Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Los Angeles.

Paul's lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, in a statement acknowledged that his client's home was searched and promised to cooperate with the investigation.

Paul, whose viral video postings of provocative pranks have won him millions of followers, had no comment on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Wednesday.

An FBI spokeswoman in Phoenix, Brooke Brennan, said agents were "investigating allegations of criminal acts surrounding the incident at Scottsdale Fashion Square in May."

Local news video footage from the raid showed officers removing several rifles from Paul's mansion in Calabasas, located about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Scottsdale police said separately that misdemeanor charges filed in June accusing Paul of criminal trespass and unlawful assembly in connection with "riots" at the Fashion Square mall were dismissed on Wednesday in conjunction with the federal investigation.

Misdemeanor charges from the shopping mall 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.

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 said he was "documenting, not engaging" in lawlessness.

(Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles and David Schwartz in Phoenix; editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler)

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