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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 11:38 GMT
Third witness 'saw Puff Daddy armed'

Mr Combs is charged with possession of a weapon
A third witness has told the gun charges trial of Sean Combs - alias Puff Daddy - he saw the rap star holding a gun prior to a nightclub shooting.

Julius Jones, 28, was the third of the three nightclub shooting victims to testify at the Manhattan courtroom.

Mr Combs is charged with possession of a weapon in connection with a 1999 shooting at a New York club, in which three people were injured.

He is also charged with trying to bribe his driver to take the blame.

Co-defendant Jamal Barrow, 21, faces charges of attempted murder and gun possession, while bodyguard Anthony Jones, 34, is accused of having the loaded gun by his feet.

Jamal Barrow
Jamal Barrow: Charged with attempted murder and gun possession
Julius Jones told the court on Wednesday he saw Mr Barrow fire the bullet that entered his right shoulder. He also testified that he saw a black automatic pistol in Mr Combs' hand.

"I was looking at Sean Combs - he had the gun," he said.

He added that when he turned to his left, he also saw Mr Barrow with a gun.

"I saw shots come out of his gun. I saw fire. I dropped to the ground. The crowd around me went crazy," Mr Jones said.

"I was shot. I couldn't move. I saw my shooter, Mr Barrow, and another man with the gun, Sean Combs,'' he added.

Jennifer Lopez and Sean Combs
Jennifer Lopez was with the rap star at the time of the incident
Julius Jones also testified that just before the shooting he heard screaming and cursing from a group of men standing at the bar next to Mr Combs.

He said he saw one of the men began to throw money at the rap star.

On cross-examination by Mr Combs' lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, Mr Jones said he heard one of the men in the group tell the rapper "I'll kill you" several times.

He suggested a possible self-defence motive for the rap star taking out a gun.

Mr Combs, who pleads innocent, is not accused of shooting anyone, but he was arrested after he fled the club with his girlfriend, actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, who has not been charged.

Mr Jones also admitted to Mr Cochran he had been drinking and had smoked marijuana on the night of the shootings, but said he had a clear memory of events.

Settlement sought

A doctor told the court on Wednesday that a woman wounded in the nightclub told him Sean Combs had shot her.

Dr John A Perrotti said he was working in the St Clare's Hospital emergency room on 27 December 1999, when Natania Reuben was brought in with a gunshot wound to the face.

Mr Perrotti quoted Ms Reuben as saying: "I was shot by Puffy".

Ms Reuben had told the court on Monday that she saw Mr Combs and Mr Barrow fire guns at the club, but she did not know who had shot her.

On Friday, Tarnisha Smith told the court she saw Sean Combs holding a gun as he fled the nightclub.

The three people wounded in the shooting are each seeking a $100m (67.8m) settlement.

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See also:

30 Jan 01 | Americas
Puff Daddy in the dock
05 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Puff Daddy proclaims his innocence
14 Jan 00 | Entertainment
'Puffy' hires OJ's lawyer
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