PUFFY HOPING THAT LAWSUITS WILL NOW BE DROPPED

Sean 'Puffy' Combs makes brief statement following his acquittal on all charges...

PUFFY HOPING THAT LAWSUITS WILL NOW BE DROPPED
SEAN 'PUFFY' COMBS yesterday (March 19) released a brief statement about his Friday acquittal on gun and bribery charges describing the trial as "the most difficult time in my life".

He said: "This was the most difficult time in my life and I give all glory to God for bringing me out of this. I feel truly blessed that this ordeal is over. I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, and fans from all round the world, as I couldn't have gotten through this without their prayers and support."

Combs was acquitted in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday of all charges relating to a 1999 shooting at Club New York on Times Square. His bodyguard, Anthony 'Wolf' Jones, was also cleared of similar charges.

However, the Bad Boy boss' protege, rapper Jamal 'Shyne' Barrow, was not so lucky. Barrow was convicted of two counts of assault, one count of reckless endangerment, and one count of weapons possession in the incident. He will be sentenced on April 16.

There was further good news for Combs yesterday, when one of his lawyers said he felt the trial acquittal would mean that millions of dollars of civil suits filed in the aftermath of the shooting incident would now be dropped.

According to MTV, Luke Pittoni said: "We want to let the dust settle and then make the motion to dismiss. There's absolutely no merit [to the lawsuits]."

Natania Reuben, Julius Jones and Robert Thompson were shot in the incident. They have each filed multi-million-dollar lawsuits against Combs. None of the three accuse Combs of shooting them, but they do blame him for indirectly causing their injuries through his alleged involvement in an argument that sparked the gunshots. Puffy's driver on the night, Wardel Fenderson - the man who accused him of attempted bribery - and the owner of Club New York, Michael Bergos, have also filed suits.

During the seven-week trial Combs' defence team made much of what it said was the testimony of certain witnesses out for self-profit at the expense of Puffy's freedom.

Click here... to see NME.COM's Puff Daddy On Trial minisite.

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