A defence witness claims to have been three feet from Sean Combs as the shooting happened and that the rap mogul had no weapon...

The PUFF DADDY gun trial could hinge on the testimony of a witness presented on Friday (February 23), who claims the rapper definitely was not holding a gun when shots were fired in a crowded club.

Christopher Chambers, a surprise witness for the defence, told Manhattan Supreme Court that he and Combs were standing three feet apart when the gunfire began. He said that they both ducked for cover, and as Combs went down, he could see his hands were empty.

Chambers is the first person to categorically state that when the gun was fired, Combs had not been armed. Five witnesses testified last week that at no point had they seen Combs carry a gun, but none of them could be sure he was unarmed when the shooting began.

The Bad Boy Recordings boss’ future could now be decided on just how credible the jury find Chambers. He stood up to over two hours of tough cross-examination from prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos, with Bogdanos frequently suggesting it was odd that the witness knew in detail what Combs was doing, but remained unclear about the rest of the crowd.

“Did you look at anyone else except for Mr Combs when shots went off?” Bogdanos asked, to which Chambers replied: “Didn’t notice anyone else.”

According to Court TV in the US, Combs’ defence countered that, as a regular patron on a normal night at a club, Chambers had little reason to pay close attention to the doings of others. It was only after the gunshots were fired that there was any reason for careful observation, and at that point, Chambers could only see Combs, lawyer Benjamin Brafman suggested.

It marked a second good defence day for Puffy, who, alongside his bodyguard Anthony ‘Wolf’ Jones and Jamal ‘Shyne’ Barrow, faces charges relating to the shooting in Club New York on December 27 1999. While Puffy and Jones face weapons and bribery charges, carrying a maximum of 15 years in prison, Shyne is up on the more serious charges of attempted murder, reckless endangerment and weapons possession. He could get 25 years.

The trial enters its fifth week today (Februay 26).