Cop Says Puffy Tried Bribe

Testimony in Puffy case moves outside of club

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Though most of the testimony so far in the Sean "Puffy" Combs trial has centered on what happened inside Club New York on December 27, 1999, two police officers testified today as to what happened outside the club, with both of them recovering guns from the defendants' persons and property. One of the officers also provided the first testimony that set a foundation for Combs' bribery charge.

Officer John Murtagh, who was on foot patrol with his partner outside the club that night, testified that Jamal "Shyne" Barrow came running out of the club about fifteen seconds after he heard three to four shots fired inside the club. When he asked Barrow to stop and raise his hands, Murtagh saw a gun in Barrow's waistband, which turned out to be a loaded semiautomatic.

On cross-examination, Murtagh admitted that since the incident he was removed from foot patrol after he had been reported drunk and disorderly while in uniform. But he denied that he had anything to drink the night of the shooting.

Sergeant Jack Konstantinidi testified that after he got a call on his car radio that shots had been fired, saw a Lincoln Navigator speeding towards him, honking and blinking its headlights. He pursued the vehicle up Eighth Avenue as it ran eleven lights and jumped up on the sidewalk, until it was finally cut off by another police car. Konstantinidi said that he asked each of the passengers to exit the car one by one, and when Jennifer Lopez stepped out of the vehicle, she started to walk away. Konstantinidi asked Lopez where she was going, and she said she was going home. "No, you're not," he replied.

After searching the vehicle, a fellow police officer recovered a gun from under the front seat, where bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones had been sitting. No one would claim responsibility for the gun, Konstantinidi said, so he arrested Combs, Lopez, Jones and driver Wardel Fenderson.

Combs asked Konstantinidi about Lopez, the sergeant said, wondering if she had to be arrested, too. Konstantinidi testified that he told Combs that since no one had claimed the gun, he had to take them all in. Combs then asked, "What if someone admits it?", to which the sergeant replied, "If somebody admits to it, most likely they will get charged with it, but we'll sort it all out at the precinct." Konstantinidi claimed that Combs then said, "Deal. When we get back to the precinct, I'm going to let you know whose gun it is." He then testified that he observed Combs talking to Jones and Fenderson, who both shook their heads, setting the table for the prosecution's charge of bribery.

The trial resumes Friday; the prosecution is expected to wrap its case by the end of next week.

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