September 17, 1998 12:00 AM

The civil trial of rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs begins in Manhattan today for a deadly stampede during a 1991 celebrity basketball game that he organized at the City College of New York. Nine people were killed and 29 others injured when people rushed to enter the event. Meanwhile, the music entrepreneur lost a bid yesterday to separate his criminal trial on bribery and gun charges from the trials of two co-defendants, Anthony “Wolf” Jones, 34, and Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, 19, who were arrested with him after a Times Square nightclub shooting last December. Combs fled the scene of the incident, along with his girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez. In denying Combs’s motion, State Supreme Justice Charles Solomon said the rapper “failed to establish good cause for granting a severance in this case.”

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