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Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 10:20 GMT
Puffy in new 'bribe' accusation
Combs leaves Manhattan court on Wednesday
Combs leaves Manhattan court on Wednesday
Rap star Sean "Puffy" Combs faces new accusations of trying to pay a key witness and his brothers for their silence in his trial on gun possession and bribery charges.

Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos told the Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday how the witness Matthew "Scar" Allen and his two brothers had told him of "several attempts" by Mr Combs to pay for their silence.

Mr Combs, 31, is charged with possession of a weapon in connection with a 1999 shooting at a New York club, in which three people were injured.


Their greatest concerns were retaliation by Mr Combs and those surrounding him against their mother

Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos

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.

All three men plead innocent.

New York police tracked down and arrested ex-convict Mr Allen in Maryland on Tuesday after looking for him for seven weeks.

They want him to testify because it was his argument with Mr Combs that allegedly triggered the shooting on 27 December 1999 that led to the charges against Mr Combs and two of his associates.

'Concerns'

In a letter made public to Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Charles Dolomon, Mr Bogdanos told how he said he interviewed Mr Allen and his two brothers on 3 January.

Mr Bogdanos said the Allen brothers had told him they were concerned about testifying at the trial.

"Their greatest concerns were retaliation by Mr Combs and those surrounding him against their mother, Shirley Allen,'' Mr Bogdanos wrote.

"I was also informed of several attempts by Mr Combs personally to pay for their silence.''

Mr Bogdanos also released a written statement by Mr Allen claiming he saw Mr Combs and associate Mr Barrow firing guns in the nightclub.

After hearing the prosecution case Judge Dolomon ruled that Mr Allen could testify at the trial once the lawyers for the defendants had presented their cases.

Mr Combs is not accused of shooting anyone, but he was arrested after he fled the Manhattan club.

'Screaming'

Four prosecution witnesses have already testified that they saw a gun in Mr Combs's hand.

The rap star's driver has also described how Mr Combs allegedly tried to bribe him with $50,000 to say the gun was his.

Eyewitnesses have testified that Mr Allen shouted "I'm going to kill you" at Mr Combs in the club.

They also allege that someone in Mr Allen's group threw money at the the singer as an insult.

Shooting is then said to have begun.

In Mr Allen's written statement he described how Mr Combs knocked a glass of champagne out of his hand while greeting someone else in the club and the pair starting ''screaming'' at each other.

"At just about the same time one of the guys against the bar threw money at Puffy. Shyne then dipped down and came back up with a gun and started firing,'' Mr Allen's sworn statement said.

"At that point, Puffy had a gun in his right hand as I was running out. I could see both Shyne and Puffy firing guns.''

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See also:

08 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Third witness 'saw Puff Daddy armed'
01 Feb 01 | Americas
Puff Daddy 'never carried gun'
30 Jan 01 | Americas
Puff Daddy in the dock
14 Jan 00 | Entertainment
'Puffy' hires OJ's lawyer
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