The judge denies a last-ditch request by lawyers to delay matters for fear the jury may be media prejudiced...

Jury selection began this morning January 17 (EST) in New York in the trial of SEAN ‘PUFFY’ COMBS, his rapper protege JAMAL ‘SHYNE’ BARROW and and bodyguard ANTHONY ‘WOLF’ JONES, after a judge denied a last ditch request by lawyers for COMBS to delay the selection until Monday (January 22).

It had been argued yesterday that potential jurors would be prejudiced by the volume of recent media coverage about the trial.

Residing Judge Charles Solomon of the Manhattan court explained in denying the request that he would take “great pains to make sure” the jury selected were impartial and fair. According to reports from the US, about 100 potential jurors are expected to be called. Selection is due to last around a week. Judge Solomon is then expected to tell them that the trial will run for around five weeks.

The single most contentious issue to have arisen during pre-trial hearings – whether or not Shyne can be cross-examined about the lyrics on his self-titled debut album to establish whether or not they suggested intent to commit the crimes of which he is accused – has not yet been resolved. Neither has a decision been reached on the admissability of gunpowder residue tests carried out on the rapper in the hours following the alleged shooting.

Judge Solomon scheduled an additional hearing for Friday afternoon (January 19) – without the jury present – to resolve the matter.

The case against the three stems from an incident in Club New York on December 27 1999 when three people were shot. While Combs and Jones face weapons charges after being stopped by police fleeing the scene in a car in which the alleged weapon alleged used in the attack was found, Shyne faces the more serious charges of attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment.

The entire proceedings will be broadcast worldwide from January 22 on www.courttv.com.