A reality check for superstar rapper Sean Combs

By on February 15, 2001

The members of “Bad Boy” entertainment have a majority of the public believing that their title bears some significance.
Music mogul Sean “Puffy” Comb and rapper Jamal “Shyne” Barrow face heavy prison sentences if convicted in the December1999 shootings that took place in Manhattan’s Club New York. Both defendants have stood by their convictions and plead innocent to all charges.
Club New York in Times Square had been hosting the weekly “Hot Chocolate” hip-hop party the night of the shooting. Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez and bodyguard Anthony “Wolf” Jones accompanied Combs and Barrow to the event.
According to prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos, “defendants Combs and Jones became involved in an argument in which they believed a third party had been disrespecting them, all three defendants engaged in retaliatory conduct.”
According to MTV news, it was at this point that wads of money were apparently thrown at the Puff Daddy in a disrespectful manner. None of the defendants’ stories completely match up.
However, prosecutor Bogdanos claims that after being disrespected, both “Combs and Barrow pulled out 9-mm semiautomatic handguns and after the smoke cleared, three people lay shot on the floor.”
Shyne is the suspected gunman in the shootings. Combs is accused of alleged gun possession charges and bribery charges for allegedly persuading his driver, Wardel Fenderson to say that the gun found in the “getaway” SUV was his.
High profile lawyer Johnnie Cochran is on Combs’ defense team. The defense is suggesting that the testimonies are all motivated by money. Shooting victim Natania Rueben was shot in the face that night, but her story continues to evolve over time as to who shot her.
While she once said that she was “shot by Puffy,” Rueben changed her story, saying that “she did not know who had shot her.” Last week, in another version of her story, she testified that she saw both Shyne and Combs fire guns.
Reuben, who still has fragments of the bullet in her head, has an incriminating legal past that won’t work too well for her in court. Reuben appeared in an episode of the “People’s Court” prior to the shooting. She sued the landlord of her former Brooklyn beauty salon for not supplying enough heat.
The defense claims that she lied on the “People’s Court” and that she also manufactured evidence. It would seem as if Reuben is an opportunist trying to make a quick million out of an unfortunate situation. Despite her forever changing claims that she saw both of the accused rappers with guns, she confesses that she has no idea whose bullet hit her.
The second witness appeared two days after Reuben testified. Julius Jones was shot in the right shoulder and claims that he saw Shyne shoot him. He also testified that he saw Combs holding a gun just before the fire erupted.
However, like Reuben, Jones is far from a credible witness. In court, he admitted that prior to arrival at Club New York, he had smoked marijuana and that he had been drinking while at the club.
According to MTV news, Jones was cross-examined at the hospital after the incident, and he did not include that Shyne had fired at any point. Instead, he told police that “Combs might have fired a shot.”
In response to the media questioning of the fact that he had contradicted himself, Jones explained that “he was in great pain when he spoke to police and didn’t give them a complete statement.”
As if these facts were not enough to prove that Jones is far from credible, MTV news supplied a quote from Jones’ testimony in which he consistently uses four-letter words with frequent grammatical errors.
The Puff Daddy scandal is all over the media it seems; yet no students, when asked, had views that actually included the facts of the case. In fact, many of the students were under the impression that Puff Daddy was accused of the shooting.
I have to side with the self-proclaimed “macaroni with the cheese” on this one. Puff Daddy may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there is neither substantial witnesses, nor evidence that can prove that he had anything to do with these shootings.
It seems that the victims and club goers have taken this situation and used it to their advantage. The stories have consistently changed over time and each individual is suing for extravagant amounts.
Reuben, whose story has evolved from “Puffy shot me” to “I don’t know who shot me,” is suing for $130 million. These people are opportunists, looking for any dollar they can get their hands on.
Although rap stars are usually berated, I have to side otherwise. The public may see Puff Daddy as a commercial entity, but he is also the CEO of an international entertainment enterprise.
First and foremost, he is a businessman. Regardless of his image, and I simply cannot believe that he, nor any of those he would allow himself to be affiliated with, could be involved in such circumstances.
In the meantime, the trial continues and all defendants maintain their innocence. Only time will reveal the rapper’s fate. This scandal has gone on long enough, and I am anxious for an outcome in the entertainer’s favor.
Puff Daddy actually predicted all of this in one of his early hits, “mo’ money, mo’ problems.”


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