Jurors started deliberations today (March 14) in the weapons possession and bribery trial of hip-hop honcho Sean "Puffy" Combs in New York. Combs, 31, was charged with weapons possession and bribery a

Jurors started deliberations today (March 14) in the weapons possession and bribery trial of hip-hop honcho Sean "Puffy" Combs in New York. Combs, 31, was charged with weapons possession and bribery after his Dec. 27, 1999, arrest as he fled a Times Square-area nightclub where gunfire had erupted. Combs' protege and co-defendant, Jamal "Shyne" Barrow, was charged with shooting three people in the club.

Combs' bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones, 34, faces the same charges as his boss. Combs faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The case went to the jury following six weeks of testimony and two hours of legal instructions from the judge. In closing arguments yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos told the jurors he didn't call Combs' former girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, as a witness because he feared the singer-actress would color her testimony in Combs' favor.

Bogdanos said Combs' acquaintances and employees who were called as witnesses had offered nothing but "lies." During his nearly six-hour summation, Bogdanos repeatedly challenged the veracity of Combs' testimony in his own defense last week.

The prosecutor said the evidence showed Combs and Barrow both pulled handguns and opened fire inside the packed nightclub after a bar patron insulted Combs. Barrow was arrested as he fled the club with a gun in his waistband. He was charged with attempted murder.

Combs and Jones were arrested several blocks away after they fled in a sport utility vehicle. They were charged with possession of a gun found in the vehicle and another gun allegedly thrown from the SUV. Combs and Jones also are charged with bribery for allegedly trying to persuade the SUV's driver, Wardell Fenderson, to take the gun rap for them.

On Monday, Combs' attorney Benjamin Brafman suggested the weapon in the SUV belonged to Fenderson.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.