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Wednesday, 5 January, 2000, 12:23 GMT
Puff Daddy proclaims his innocence

Puff Daddy left court declaring his innocence to fans

US rap star Puff Daddy declared he was totally innocent of the criminal gun charges against him, as he left a hearing of the Manhattan grand jury.

The 29-year-old, is charged with the illegal possession of a handgun and the possession of stolen property after police allegedly found a handgun in his car on 27 December.

Currently free on $10,000 (6,000) bail, the singer - whose real name is Sean Combs - gave evidence to the grand jury on Tuesday.

As he left the court, he professed his innocence to the crowd of fans who had gathered outside the court.

"I came here to tell the truth. I am 100% innocent and the charges against me are 100% false. I hope they will be able to see that," said Combs.

He refused to go into detail about his evidence to the court.

The singer's girlfriend, Latino star Jennifer Lopez - who was also in the car on 27 December - was also at the grand jury hearing. She also declined to comment.

Nightclub shooting

Combs, who was accompanied in the vehicle by Lopez and two other men, was stopped by police as he left a New York nightclub where three people were shot and wounded.

Strain: Lopez left the court separately

Combs and Lopez were travelling in the backseat of the car when police say the driver went through a red light.

Combs, and the two other men in the front seat, were charged when police say they saw a gun on the floor next to the passenger's seat.

Combs's lawyer has stressed that his client and Lopez were trying to get away from the club shooting.

A 19-year-old man has been charged with three counts of attempted murder.

Lopez, who testified before before the grand jury last week, was already inside the courthouse when Combs arrived on Tuesday.

Combs is due back in court on 14 February. Lopez was also arrested but charges made against her were later dropped.

The strain of the arrests is said to have put a strain on the relationship between the high-profile couple.

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See also:
07 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Lopez: I'm no billion dollar babe
28 Dec 99 |  Americas
Puff Daddy out on bail
09 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
Court rap for Puff Daddy

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