Prosecutor: 'Puffy' Broke Gag Order
A prosecutor complained today (Feb. 28) in a New York courtroom that Sean ''Puffy'' Combs violated a gag order by issuing a statement saying he would testify in his own defense on weapons charges andA prosecutor complained today (Feb. 28) in a New York courtroom that Sean ''Puffy'' Combs violated a gag order by issuing a statement saying he would testify in his own defense on weapons charges and that ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez would not testify.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos asked state Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon to hold Combs in contempt of court for violating a gag order barring both sides from talking to the press. He asked that Combs be sentenced to 30 days in jail. However, the gag order does allow Combs to assert his innocence and defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman argued that Combs' statement fell within that guideline.
The judge said he would consider Bogdanos' request, and in the meantime he barred all statements and interviews from both sides, promising that any violation would be "swiftly and severely" punished. The morning arguments were made outside the hearing of the jury.
Combs, 31, and his bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones, 34, are charged with two counts of gun possession. A third suspect, Jamal "Shyne" Barrow, 21, is charged with three counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting three people at a nightclub near Times Square on Dec. 27, 1999.
Prosecutors allege Combs was illegally carrying a gun at the time the shots were fired, and that he later tried to bribe his chauffeur into accepting responsibility for a handgun that police believe was thrown out of their vehicle. Lopez, who had accompanied Combs to the club, is not charged.
The statement that Combs issued yesterday read, in part: "Since I intend to testify on my own behalf I feel it is no longer necessary for Jennifer to be involved in these proceedings."
Bogdanos claimed that the only reason Combs doesn't want Lopez to testify is because it would harm his case. Bogdanos revealed that, in her grand jury testimony, when Lopez was asked if Combs had a gun she repeatedly replied: "I can't say one way or the other."
"It would be literally impossible for Ms. Lopez to exonerate Mr. Combs," Bogdanos said. Brafman disputed that, saying that contrary to Bogdanos' interpretation of Lopez's grand jury remarks, "she categorically exonerated Mr. Combs on a number of issues."
Brafman said Lopez testified that she danced with Combs, "hugged him, embraced him, had her hands on his waist. She knows he did not have a gun the night of the incident."
Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.