Combs Trial Set to Start

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in the gun possession and bribery trial of Sean “Puffy” Combs, following the completion of jury selection on Thursday, according to the Reuters. After six days of jury selection, the judge seated a panel of five whites and seven blacks and Hispanics, comprised of five women and seven men. He also released potential witness lists submitted by prosecutors and defense attorneys. The name of Combs’s girlfriend, pop star and actress Jennifer Lopez, appears on both lists, although Lopez’s attorney, Louis Aidala, said “it doesn’t mean she will definitely testify.” He added that Lopez had authorized him to accept any subpoena issued to summon her to appear. Combs is accused of gun possession and bribery after a December 1999 shooting outside a Manhattan club in which three people were injured. He’s charged with offering his driver, Wardel Fenderson, $50,000 in cash to say he owned the loaded gun police found as Combs and Lopez drove away from the scene of the crime. Combs, who faces 15 years in prison if convicted of gun possession, has repeatedly denied the charges. Also accused is Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, a protege of Combs who faces charges of attempted murder and gun possession, and Combs’s bodyguard, Anthony “Wolf” Jones, who is accused of having the loaded gun by his feet. In other related news, despite published reports in New York tabloids, Combs and Lopez are still together, according to representatives from both camps. “They have not broken up. They are absolutely together,” Lopez’s spokesman Alan Nierob said Wednesday. A spokesperson for Combs also insisted that the two are still together.

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