The beleaguered rap star, real name Sean Combs, denies claims he lied in court in gun charge case....
SEAN ‘PUFF DADDY’ COMBS has reacted angrily to claims in a US newspaper that he perjured himself in court in a bid to evade prosecution in the ongoing case into a shooting incident at a New York nightclub on December 27 1999.
An article in last Friday’s New York Post (April 14) claimed that the troubled rap star/producer was facing another Grand Jury investigation after he allegedly lied on oath in January never to have owned a gun. The article also suggested Combs had attempted to tamper with witnesses around the time of his arrest.
The Post reprinted a transcript of an alleged mobile telephone conversation Combs had with his driver Wardel Fenderson following the arrest. The transcript seemed to confirm prosecutors allegations that Combs offered Fenderson US$50,000 if he admitted ownership of a loaded 9mm handgun found by police in the car in which Combs’ party were travelling following the shooting. Also in the car at the time were Combs bodyguard Anthony ‘Wolf’ Jones, Combs girlfriend, the actress Jennifer Lopez and a fourth man who has not been identified. Combs is charged with carrying a stolen gun and also of brandishing the weapon in Time Square’s Manhattan Club where young rapper Shyne, real name Jamal Barrow, is alleged to have opened fire wounding three people.
In a statement reproduced on the American website Allstar, Combs suggests the allegations against him were the work of an unidentified conspiracy.
“I am outraged by the New York Post’s story,” he said. “It is completely false. In fact, my attorney, Ben Brafman, confirmed again today with the lead prosecutor in the case that I am absolutely not a target of any further Grand Jury investigation. I believe that certain individuals close to the case are leaking these lies to the media in an effort to prejudice the case and prevent me from having a fair trial.”
Brafman himself echoed Combs’ statement adding:
“The article in today’s New York Post is patently false. Furthermore, what this confirms is what attorneys for Mr. Combs have always maintained, that there is no evidence whatsoever to support the original charges and what certain members of the law enforcement community are now doing is desperately trying to find any way they can prejudice Mr. Combs even if it means fabricating false allegations.”
It seems unlikely that Combs will face a second inquiry. Under US law, it is impossible for a defendant to face two Grand Jury investigations for the same offence.
Combs returns to court on May 16.