More Trouble for Puff Daddy

Combs slapped with bribery charge before Grammys

February 24, 2000 12:00 AM ET

Things seem to be bad and getting worse for Sean "Puffy" Combs. Shortly before he was roasted at the Grammy Awards by outspoken anti-handgun advocate Rosie O'Donnell, who quipped that the rapper has "spent more time with the Police than Sting," the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced that Combs and his bodyguard Anthony Jones were being indicted for bribery. The charges are the latest addition of accusations stemming from a Dec. 27 nightclub shooting in Manhattan.

"The defendants are charged in the indictment with one count of bribing a witness," a statement issued from Manhattan DA Robert M. Morgenthau's office claimed. "The defendants offered Comb's driver, Wardel Fenderson, a bribe consisting of money and jewelry to influence his testimony. Fifty thousand dollars was offered to the driver to induce him to claim ownership of a gun that police recovered from the car in which the defendants and Fenderson were riding after the shooting incident."

The statement confirmed that Assistant Disctrict Attorney Matthew Bogdanos will be prosecuting the case. Bogdanos claimed at a Feb. 10 bail hearing that Combs offered the bribe in front of numerous police officers.

Combs has already been indicted with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The bribery charge is also a felony and carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison. Combs' protTgT Jamal "Shyne" Barrow faces charges of attempted murder.

In a statement, Combs claimed he was "outraged by this new charge," and suggested that the DA's office scheduled the indictment to coincide with the Grammy Awards (where he was nominated for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group) to embarrass him.

Combs is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 29 to face the latest charge.

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