Diddy investigation: Is this the fall of Sean Combs? Big picture analysis

The slew of civil lawsuits accusing Sean "Diddy" Combs of sexual assault, sex trafficking and other charges are shocking and disturbing. 

Months after they were filed, some still wanted to believe the motive was money, not justice. But on March 25, federal raids on his Los Angeles compound and Miami homes changed everything. 

Combs continues to categorically deny all the accusations, but the feds for the first time confirmed a criminal investigation is under way.

It's a game changer because now the stakes are much higher and his very freedom could be on the line. 

Raid in Los Angeles

On March 25, the image of armored vehicles rolling along the tree-lined street of wealthy Holmby Hills shocked viewers. 

In video from FOX 11, Homeland Security agents in tactical gear with long guns were seen lining up in what's called a "stack" at the gate to Combs' $40 million compound, acting on search warrants.

Diddy's attorney, Aaron Dyer, called the raids a "gross overuse of military level force."

The equipment was most likely the result of concerns about guns and drugs on the property, said Homeland Security expert Hal Kempfer, who's a former intelligence officer.

"We're looking at HSI going in kind of heavy, armored vehicles, ballistic protection, assault rifles, basically with a lot of other things that they needed because they were very concerned about the threat assessment of what was there," Kempfer said.

Who is Sean "Diddy" Combs?

For several decades following the murder in 1997 of his Bad Boy Records superstar artist Notorious B.I.G., Combs has been a larger than life figure. 

He's set trends in music, fashion, lifestyle and branding as a businessman and entrepreneur. He's even appeared on Broadway and in feature films. 

He applied his music industry honed marketing skills to his Sean Jean clothing line, Ciroc vodka, Revolt TV and other ventures before the lawsuits compelled many entities to cancel their association with him. 

Diddy's cultural footprint was huge, said New York Post lifestyle reporter Asia Grace.  

"Diddy was the untouchable man," Grace said. "He was on the Mount Rushmore of Hip Hop moguls. There was nothing he couldn't do, no space that he couldn't dominate. That was music, pop culture, fashion, education, politics. I mean my entire life, Diddy was the man." 

‘Their eyes open and their ears open’

The civil lawsuit allegations have already cost Combs millions of dollars in losses from canceled deals. There was public humiliation on social media, where the more sensational claims spread like wildfire. 


Stevie J defends Sean 'Diddy' Combs after federal raids and social media backlash

Stevie J, a long-time friend of Sean 'Diddy' Combs defended him in an interview with FOX 5 NY, in the aftermath of federal raids at Diddy's properties and social media backlash.

Combs continues to deny the allegations, but claims made in civil cases can lead to criminal investigations and criminal charges, says criminal defense attorney Donte Miils.

"They move forward with that civil case, but in that civil case they spell out what happened, and because of who they were suing, Sean Combs, it got people's attention," Mills said. "The way these investigators work is they're just kind of out and about and looking, and they have their eyes open and their ears open, and when they see something that could be illegal activity, they start to investigate."