Rap Star 'Puff Daddy' Pleads Not Guilty to Bribery
NEW YORK — – Rap star Sean "Puffy" Combs pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to trying to bribe his driver to take the rap in an alleged gun possession incident, calling the accusation "outrageous and baseless."
Combs and his bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones, were previously indicted for criminal possession of a weapon stemming from a shooting at a Manhattan nightclub after which police found two loaded 9 mm guns in his possession. Three people were injured in the Dec. 27 incident.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos said that "within minutes" of Combs and Jones arriving at a police station after their arrest, Combs allegedly tried to bribe his driver, Wardel Fenderson, offering him $50,000 if he would claim ownership of a gun found in the car in which the defendants were riding after the shooting.
"Every day they are trying something new. It's not me. I'm innocent. The way they are acting in court is outrageous," Combs said later. "This charge is completely baseless. I did not bribe anyone at any time, anywhere."
The prosecutor also alleged that when Combs and his girlfriend, actress-pop star Jennifer Lopez, got to the station the rap mogul offered his driver a diamond ring Lopez had given him as collateral for the alleged bribe.
Bogdanos said the bribery attempts continued "in the holding pen, the limousine ride home after his release from court and at his Park Avenue residence."
He said Combs continued the bribery attempts for days.
The prosecutor also told Judge Charles Solomon that Combs was being investigated for gun possession in connection with a 1997 incident in the Midwest, and that in 1998 two guns were found in his hotel room in Washington, D.C.
Combs' attorney, Benjamin Brafman, accused Bogdanos of trying the case publicly and said the charges against Combs "will not be sustained."