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Saturday, 17 March, 2001, 07:23 GMT
Puff Daddy cleared of gun charges
Sean
The singer celebrates the verdict with his mother, Janice
US rap star Sean "Puffy" Combs has been found not guilty on all five charges of gun possession and bribery.


I just want to say I give all glory to God

Puff Daddy
The singer and music producer, better known as Puff Daddy, 31, had been charged with possession of a weapon in connection with a 1999 shooting at a New York club, in which three people were injured.

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

When the verdict came in, Mr Combs hugged his lawyers Benjamin Brafman and Johnnie Cochran.

There was brief applause and cheers in the packed Manhattan courtroom, before the judge silenced the public.

Mr Combs' mother, Janice, blew him a kiss.
Supporter outside the court building
Fan's delight at the outcome

However, Mr Combs' co-defendant and associate Jamal Barrow, 21, was found guilty of first-degree assault and reckless endangerment, charges that carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

He was not found guilty on charges of attempted murder for the injuries suffered by the three club patrons, one of whom was severely wounded in the face.

A third defendant, Mr Combs' bodyguard Anthony Jones, 34, was cleared on all the charges he faced.

Mr Combs' then girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, was initially arrested, but never charged.

Six-week trial

"I just want to say I give all glory to God," said Mr Combs outside the court after the verdict.

"I just feel blessed."

The jury had spent three days deliberating, following a six-week trial.

The court heard evidence from nearly 60 witnesses, including Mr Combs himself, who spend a day giving testimony.

Mr Cochran said it had been "strong decision" for Mr Combs to give evidence.

In court, Mr Combs said that he never carried a weapon on the night of the shooting - instead, he believed he was the target.

"I thought I was being shot at," he told the court.

However, although he has been cleared in thise case, he may now face other lawsuits from parties seeking more than $1bn in damages over the incident.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jane Hughes
"Puff Daddy is still not completely in the clear"
The BBC's Rob Watson in New York
"Combs now faces a civil lawsuit from those injured in the incident"
See also:

17 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Puffy: The road to innocence
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Lopez stays out of witness box
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
The making of America's hippest couple
17 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Puff Daddy's life of rhyme
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Puffy and Lopez split
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