‘I would be very concerned if I were Diddy,’ says legal expert

By | March 28, 2024

It’s been three days since Sean “Diddy” Combs’ home was raided by law enforcement, and while the music mogul has not yet been charged with a crime, he is in hot water amid a federal sex trafficking investigation.

“I would be very concerned if I were Diddy,” Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Silva Megerditchian told Yahoo Entertainment. “Keeping the allegations in mind since Cassie Ventura’s civil case was settled, I would be concerned and, more importantly, prepared for what is to come.”

Combs has been sued by at least five people who accuse the rapper of rape, sexual assault and other disturbing misconduct. Some accusations date back to the 1990s. A source told NBC News that three women and one man have been interviewed by federal officials in New York “in connection with allegations of sex trafficking, sexual assault and solicitation and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms.”

Diddy has proclaimed his innocence through his lawyer and plans to fight the allegations. Yahoo spoke with three legal experts who map out the difficult road ahead.

Homeland Security’s involvement should not be ‘taken lightly’

The Department of Homeland Security Investigations New York confirmed to Yahoo that it “conducted law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation.” Combs is reportedly the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation. Attorney Judie Saunders, who specializes in sexual abuse and misconduct litigation, emphasizes that Homeland Security’s focus is on “the security of America’s borders” and explains how that relates to the case.

“The investigation raises allegations of sex trafficking, and while these allegations have not been proven, trafficking across state and/or international borders may have triggered Homeland Security’s involvement,” said Saunders, a partner at the New York-based ASK. LLP, says. “The execution of a search warrant is an extreme government action that affects important aspects of the U.S. Constitution. By raiding Combs’ homes, the government has begun the first public phase of determining what federal laws Combs may have violated.”

Combs’ properties in Los Angeles and Miami were thoroughly searched by authorities on Monday.

“Any time the federal government is involved in a raid, it should never be taken lightly,” Megerditchian added.

“There is evidence that a federal crime has been committed.”

A judge granted search warrants for Combs’ two properties, so according to San Diego criminal defense attorney Elmira Yousufi, that means there is “evidence” of federal crimes.

“Here the officers had permission to search for documents, phones and other electronic devices,” she says. “Based on recent civil lawsuits against Diddy, there have been allegations that these sex-related crimes have been recorded. Most likely, federal agents will want to look through his devices and see if they can find evidence of this.”

Several civil lawsuits against Combs allege that the businessman filmed several sexual encounters.

Electronic devices were seized on March 25, ABC News confirmed, while NBC News cited three sources claiming firearms were found during the searches.

Were the raids an ‘excessive’ use of force?

In a statement Tuesday, Combs’ attorney Aaron Dyer called the raids “a gross overuse of force at a military level.” (“There is no excuse for the authorities’ excessive show of force and hostility or for the way his children and employees were treated,” the statement said in part.)

According to Megerditchian, she doesn’t believe law enforcement made an “excessive show of force at all.”

It is normal practice when a search warrant is executed,” she said.

“Any time the FBI conducts a raid, it is usually viewed as excessive by the people involved. Officers have been known to destroy homes, detain innocent people – including children – and handcuff them for officer safety or control of the situation. ”, she continues. “Officers will be tearing apart homes looking for evidence contained in the warrant. Unfortunately, what Diddy and his family experienced is no different than any other person facing a federal investigation.”

Did Diddy really flee the country – and does that matter?

The music entrepreneur was photographed at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport hours after the raids. (Yahoo reached out to Combs’ attorney but did not receive a response.) Conflicting reports emerged about Combs’ whereabouts, whether he is in the U.S. or the Caribbean. Yousufi says it doesn’t really matter.

“If Diddy were to leave the country, it would no longer haunt him unless the government can prove that he knew he was about to have his homes searched, or that he would face criminal charges and that he left to avoid prosecution “, she says. say. “Search warrants of this caliber are typically executed in secret so that no one can attempt to destroy or tamper with evidence, or to be prepared for federal agents when they conduct their searches. It’s unlikely Diddy knew when this would come, if anything, so he had no reason to believe he had to flee the country.

What happens now?

Diddy has not yet been charged with a crime and is allowed to “live his life normally” for the time being, Megerditchian said.

“This likely means that although he or his associates are currently under investigation, the government has not gathered enough evidence to arrest him personally at this time. I suspect the government will investigate further and gather more evidence – this will likely include interviews with witnesses. “, gathering more evidence through electronic devices and a variety of other tools that law enforcement uses to develop the evidence needed to build a case. But the simple truth is that every time the federal government is involved in an investigation, there is probably more going on.” ,” she adds.

But as Yousufi notes, his freedom and reputation are at stake.

“Even if the investigation does not lead to an arrest or criminal charges, the damage to his reputation could be irreparable. Worse still, if the investigation turns up incriminating evidence supporting sex trafficking, he is looking at not only the loss of his reputation, but the likely loss of his freedom,” she explains. “Based on the allegations arising from the series of civil lawsuits recently filed against him, it is not outrageous to believe that the government has suspicions that there is evidence that he has engaged in unwanted sexual activity with the alleged victims and /or forced the victims to participate in sexual acts.” sexually related activity.”

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