Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and Anthony Jones Trial: 2001
Lawyers Battle In Closing Arguments
Closing arguments were as acrimonious as the rest of the trial. Prosecutor Bogdanos reminded the jury that there were shooting victims in the case and insinuated that Combs had actively tried to bribe witnesses to change their testimony. Attorney Brafman responded with a full assault on the prosecution's witnesses. "Bad people came into this courtroom and made bad accusations because they wanted to get rich," Brafman said. He reminded jurors that Fenderson had a $3 million suit pending against Combs for emotional stress, implying that the driver was hoping to get enough money to pay off thousands of dollars in outstanding child support payments. Brafman pointed out that another shooting victim who testified for the prosecution claimed on the witness stand that he was suing for $17,000 in medical expenses, when in fact the suit sought $700 million from Combs. The other defense lawyers disputed the prosecution's scenario. Jones's attorney Michael Bachner claimed that the gun found in the vehicle belonged to Wardell Fenderson, not his client. Barrow's attorney Ian Niles admitted that his client had a gun, but argued that Barrow had fired in selfdefense and to clear an escape route through the packed room.
The courtroom was tense when verdicts were delivered on March 16. Combs and Jones were acquitted of all charges. Barrow was acquitted of attempted murder and on one count of assault, but was found guilty of all the remaining charges against him. As Barrow was taken into custody, Combs left court quietly, thanking God and his mother for supporting him throughout the trial.
At his sentencing on June 1, Barrow apologized to the shooting victims and said that he had fired his gun in a panic. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Although "Puffy" Combs still faced civil suits seeking millions in damages, his acquittal ended the threat of his imprisonment for the Club New York fracas.
Suggestions for Further Reading
Finkeistein, Katherine E. "Defense Calls Combs Trial 'Stupid' Case." New, York Time (March 13, 2001): B3.
—. "Hip-Hop Star Cleared of Charges In Shooting at a Manhattan Club." New York Times (March 17, 2001): Al, B2.
Italiano, Laura. "Getaway Driver: I Saw Gun in His Hand." New York Post, (February 16, 2001): 2—3.
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