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Diddy raid: What authorities were looking for

Two sprawling properties belonging to music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs in Los Angeles and Miami were searched by U.S. law enforcement on Monday.

This may not be the last raid planned by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, according to a legal analyst.

“They’ll gather the information, they’ll go through all of the evidence that they got from both of these homes,” Terri Austin told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. “They may actually have other searches that they want to do.”

‘They need probable cause’

Officials told The Associated Press that the search was a part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation by federal authorities in New York – although it’s not clear whether Combs was the target of the investigation.

While few details have been made public, Austin says that to conduct the sprawling raids, authorities would have needed to prove “probable cause to do that.”

“My estimate is they probably got information from the lawsuits,” Austin says. “There are at least four people who have sued him. One of those cases was settled.”

In a statement to media at the time, a lawyer for Combs said that the settlement was “in no way an admission of wrongdoing.”

Combs himself said in a statement in December about the civil claims, “I did not do any of the awful things being alleged.”

According to Austin it’s likely that those “multiple” civil lawsuits were probably enough for search warrant.

“They needed to go and search those two homes in Miami and Los Angeles,” Austin says, “looking for any information that might lead to some criminal charges.”

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So far, Combs and his attorneys have not commented on the search, and requests for comment from media have not been returned.

What is sex trafficking?

In addition to the ongoing sex trafficking investigation, Combs, who’s among the most influential hip-hop producers and executives of the past three decades, has also been at the centre of several sexual assault lawsuits in recent months.

“Most people think of sex trafficking as bringing in people from other countries,” Austin says. “But there is also domestic sex trafficking.”

According to Austin, similar allegations were made against R&B singer R. Kelly, and as with that case, authorities will have to prove people were taken “against their will” and then “forced or coerced” into sexual encounters.

“What they’re looking for is probably information on computers, any sort of videos and tracking the activities.”

Are charges expected?

Aerial video over Combs’ home in L.A. showed multiple armed law enforcement officers walking around the grounds of the property.

Combs hasn’t been charged with a crime, something Austin says is not surprising.

“Before they actually bring an indictment against him, they’re going to have to get the information to take it before a grand jury,” she says.

That’s where it will be determined whether there is enough to bring charges against him, and according to Austin, “that’s what they’re doing now.” 

With files from The Associated Press

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