CLAIMS OF MISTRIAL IN PUFFY COURT CASE

Puffy's lawyer files for a mistrial, claiming that the prosecutor had been attempting to discredit the testimony of a key witness...

It’s just three days into the trial of SEAN ‘PUFFY’ COMBS and JAMAL ‘SHYNE’ BARROW and already courtroom theatrics are helping the sensational hearing live up to its explosive pre-trial billing.

While Puffy’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman yesterday (January 31) filed for a mistrial, claiming prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos improperly attempted to discredit the testimony of Leonard Curtis Howard, one of Combs’ bodyguards, who said he had not seen Puffy with a gun (the application was dismissed out of hand by Judge Solomons), Shyne’s counsel Murray Richman continued to muddy the waters over just who was possibly guilty of what.

On Tuesday, Richman had raised the possibility that it was Puffy rather than Shyne who had fired the bullet that ricocheted around Club New York on December 27 1999, injuring three. Yesterday, during cross-examination, scientific expert Dectective Edward Wallace admitted to Richman that had Puffy fired a bullet into the ceiling in the manner the prosecution have alleged, then it could have splintered and hit the injured revellers.

Puffy’s lawyers, who were sat at a table beside Richman and Shyne, showed no reaction during the exchanges. They were not present on Tuesday (January 30) when Richman first broached the thought that it was Puffy rather than his client who shot the three club-goers.

Earlier, Howard repeated, as he had said during time in the witness box on Monday (January 29), that he didn’t see Puffy with a gun during the night in question and that he couldn’t remember whether or not the star had been searched on the way into the club. It was this last claim that led to veiled accusations of perjury from Bogdanos on Monday and yesterday’s mistrial shout by Brafman.

When challenged by Bogdanos over why his courtroom answers differed from those given previously to a Grand Jury, Howard explained that the drug course he was following for cancer made him forgetful. He finished his testimony reinforcing that Puffy hadn’t carried a gun that night, adding, “If he is to carry a firearm, there is no purpose to me being around.”

Alongside Puffy and Shyne in court is Puffy’s bodyguard, Anthony ‘Wolf’ Jones. While he and Puffy face weapons and bribery charges relating to the nightclub incident, Shyne faces the more serious charges of attempted murder, reckless endangerment and weapons possession.

The case continues today (February 1).