Sean Combs sex trafficking investigation: 'I would be very concerned if I were Diddy,' legal expert says

Three legal experts speak to Yahoo and warn that Homeland Security's involvement shouldn't "be taken lightly."

Diddy has yet to be charged after raids on March 25. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
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It has been three days since Sean "Diddy" Combs's homes were raided by law enforcement, and while the music mogul has yet to be charged with a crime, he's in hot water amid a federal sex trafficking investigation.

"I would be very concerned if I were Diddy," Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Silva Megerditchian tells Yahoo Entertainment. "Keeping in mind the allegations that have been coming up since Cassie Ventura's civil case was settled, I would be worried and, more importantly, prepared for what is to come."

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

Diddy proclaimed his innocence through his attorney and intends to fight the allegations. Yahoo spoke to three legal experts who map out the difficult road ahead.

Homeland Security's involvement shouldn't 'be taken lightly'

The Department of Homeland Security Investigations New York confirmed to Yahoo it "executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation." Combs is reportedly the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation. Lawyer Judie Saunders, who specializes in litigating cases involving sexual abuse and misconduct, emphasizes that Homeland Security's focus is "the security of America's borders" and explains how that ties into the case.

"In the investigation there are allegations of sex trafficking, and although these allegations have not been proven, the trafficking of humans across state and/or international borders may have triggered the involvement of Homeland Security," Saunders, a partner with NYC-based ASK LLP, says. "The execution of a search warrant is an extreme governmental action that touches on important aspects of the U.S. Constitution. By raiding Combs's homes, the government has begun the first public phase to determine what if any federal laws Combs may have violated."

Combs's 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 adds.

'There is evidence that a federal crime has been committed'

A judge granted search warrants for Combs's two properties, so, according to San Diego criminal defense lawyer Elmira Yousufi, that means there is "evidence" of federal crimes.

"Here, the agents were authorized 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 were recorded. Very likely, federal agents want to look through his devices and see if they can find evidence of this."

Several of the civil lawsuits against Combs claim that the businessman filmed various sexual encounters.

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

Were the raids an 'excessive' use of force?

In a statement on Tuesday, Combs's attorney Aaron Dyer called the raids "a gross overuse of military-level force." ("There is no excuse for the excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities or the way his children and employees were treated," the statement read, in part.)

In Megerditchian's opinion, she does not believe law enforcement exhibited "excessive show of force at all."

"It is the normal course of conduct when a search warrant is exercised," she says.

"Any time the feds conduct a raid, it is usually viewed as excessive by the people involved. Officers have been known to make a mess of homes, detain innocent people — including children — and handcuff them for either officer safety or control of the situation," she continues. "Agents will tear homes apart looking for evidence that the warrant specifies. Unfortunately what Diddy and his family went through is no different than any other person facing a federal investigation."

Did Diddy really flee the country — and does it matter?

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

"If Diddy left the country, it would not come back to haunt him unless the government can prove he knew he was about to have his homes searched, or that he was going to face criminal charges and he was leaving to avoid prosecution," she says. "Search warrants of this caliber are typically conducted secretly so as to not allow anyone to attempt to destroy or tamper with evidence, or be prepared for federal agents when they do conduct their search. It is unlikely Diddy knew when this was coming, if at all, thus he had no reason to believe he had to escape the country."

What happens next?

Diddy has not yet been charged with a crime and is allowed to "live his life as normal" for now, Megerditchian says.

"This likely means that though he or his associates are currently under investigation, the government has not compiled enough evidence to arrest him personally at this point. I suspect the government will conduct further investigations and gather more evidence — this will likely include interviews with witnesses, more evidence-gathering from electronic devices and a variety of other tools law enforcement uses to develop the evidence needed to put a case together. But the simple truth is any time the federal government is involved in an investigation, there is likely something more coming," she adds.

But, as Yousufi notes, his freedom and reputation hang in the balance.

"Even if the investigation does not lead to an arrest or criminal charges, the damage to his reputation may be irreparable. Even worse, if the investigation produces incriminating evidence in support of sex trafficking, then he is looking at not just the loss of his reputation but also the likely loss of his freedom," she explains. "Based on the allegations stemming from the series of civil lawsuits against him recently, it is not outrageous to believe the government has suspicions there is evidence that he did engage in unwanted sexual activity with the alleged victims and/or forced the victims to engage in sexual-related activity."