Magazine article Newsweek

Puffy's Hot New Talent: The Hip-Hop Socialite Hires His Own Legal Dream Team

Magazine article Newsweek

Puffy's Hot New Talent: The Hip-Hop Socialite Hires His Own Legal Dream Team

Article excerpt

With his parties in the Hamptons and his polo outings with Donald Trump, rap artist Sean (Puffy) Combs reminds some critics of a song title from his second CD: "Fake Thugs." But last week the hip-hop socialite was indicted in New York City on felony weapons charges that could send him to prison. Through his press agent, Combs issued a statement that asserted both his innocence and his faith in God. He also did what any multimillionaire facing criminal charges would do: hired the best legal talent he could find. As NEWSWEEK was first to report, on its NEWSWEEK.msnbc.com Web site, Combs's legal team now includes Johnnie Cochran, star of the O.J. Simpson trial; Brooklyn attorney Harvey Slovis, and Benjamin Brafman, who once represented mob turncoat Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano. "Mr. Combs, like any other citizen accused of a crime, is presumed to be innocent," Cochran told reporters. "Mr. Combs looks forward to his day in court... "

Puff Daddy's troubles began with a scary incident at a Times Square nightspot, Club New York, on Dec. 27. Combs showed up with his girlfriend, singer-actress Jennifer Lopez, and an entourage that included rap artist Jamal (Shyne) Barrow, 21, and a bodyguard, Anthony (Wolf) Jones. An altercation broke out, a number of shots were fired and three club patrons were wounded. In the confusion, Combs, Lopez and Jones left the scene in a gray 1999 Lincoln Navigator SUV owned by Combs's company, Bad Boy Entertainment. With a chauffeur at the wheel, the SUV led police on a high-speed chase through midtown Manhattan, running 11 red lights before it finally pulled over 12 blocks away. …

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