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Hip-hop star 'Puff Daddy' indicted in gun case

Combs and Cochran
Combs, left, and attorney Johnnie Cochran, who has signed on along with Benjamin Brafman to represent the rapper  

January 13, 2000
Web posted at: 7:31 p.m. EST (0031 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Hip-hop music mogul Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan Thursday on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

The indictment stems from a December 27 shooting at a Times Square-area nightclub in which three people were wounded.

Combs and Anthony "Wolf" Jones, a longtime friend, were charged with criminal possession of loaded 9 mm guns, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said in announcing the indictments.

VideoCNN's Michael Okwu reports on the indictment of Sean 'Puff Daddy' Combs on weapons charges. (January 13)
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Morgenthau said Combs and Jones each face up to 15 years in prison. He said both guns involved in the charges were believed to have been stolen.

Combs was leaving Club New York with Jones and singer-actress Jennifer Lopez when police stopped their car and found a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun on the floor of the vehicle. Authorities said it was stolen in Powder Springs, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb.

The occupants of the vehicle were arrested. While Lopez was later cleared, Combs was released on $10,000 bond on weapons possession charges.

Another 9 mm handgun -- also stolen and registered to an unidentified man in West Virginia -- allegedly was thrown from the vehicle; Combs is charged with possession of that weapon.

Morgenthau told a news conference there was evidence both guns had been fired, but he would not say when or how many times they had been fired.

Combs denied any wrongdoings at a press conference several weeks ago  

Combs faces lawsuits

A Combs protege, rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow, was indicted earlier this month on charges of attempted murder and weapons possession stemming from the actual shooting.

Combs, a singer also known as "Puffy" and the founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, is not accused of being involved in the shooting.

Last Friday, a man who was shot in the shoulder in the club sued Combs for $50 million, citing Combs' relationship to Barrow.

Combs, 30, a high-profile rap producer and performer who has produced songs for Mariah Carey and Madonna, was alleged last year to have beaten a music executive in a dispute over a music video. Combs pleaded guilty to a charge of harassment and was ordered to undergo counseling.

He also is a defendant in civil suits filed as a result of a stampede in a stairwell that killed eight people and injured 29 at New York's City College during a charity event in which he performed.

Earlier Thursday, high-profile defense lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Benjamin Brafman told CNN they had been hired to represent Combs in the case.

Cochran's clients have included O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson. Brafman has represented such clients as Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano.

Combs declares innocence after grand jury testimony
January 5, 2000
Free on bail, Combs denies weapons charges
December 28, 1999
Rapper 'Puffy' Combs faces firearm charges
December 27, 1999

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