Puffy Acquitted

Combs found not guilty on all counts, Barrow not guilty on most serious charges

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After two and a half days of deliberation, a jury in a New York State Supreme Court found Sean "Puffy" Combs not guilty on all charges against him, charges that included multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of bribery.

Rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow was found guilty on five of eight charges against him, but he was found not guilty of the most serious counts of attempted murder and intentional assault. Barrow was found guilty on counts of criminal possession of a weapon and assault in the first degree with depraved indifference. Combs' bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones was found not guilty on the same three charges that Combs faced.

"Tony's always had faith in God and the system," said Jones' attorney Michael Bachner, the first from the defense team to speak outside the courtroom. "The jury did the absolute right thing. Tony's happy for himself but he's sad for Jamal." Jones slipped out shortly afterward without comment.

Combs emerged from the courtroom just past 7:30 p.m. flanked by his mother and attorneys Benjamin Brafman and Johnnie Cochran. "Thank you," Combs told the crowd before thanking his family, attorneys, fans, staff, and the people of New York. "I'm just very emotional. I feel blessed. Right now I just want to be with my kids and I'm just grateful."

Combs said he would address the trial in more detail at a later time.

"I feel like I just won the Super Bowl," Brafman exclaimed, while Cochran said it was an "honor and privilege" to work with Combs.

Barrow's attorneys were the last to emerge from the court, but refused to speculate when questioned about whether Barrow took the fall for the incident by admitting on March 12th that he was in possession of and fired a gun the night of the shooting. "I'm not going to second guess what occurred or what did not occur," said Barrow's attorney Murray Richman.

The charges stemmed from a December 27, 1999 shooting at Club New York in New York City, in which three people were wounded. The events that led to the shooting varied according to accounts and witnesses. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos claimed that a dispute between Combs and another club-goer named Matthew "Scar" Allen, led to Combs and Barrow both drawing and discharging weapons. Barrow was arrested outside the club with a firearm in his waistband, and Combs, Jones and Combs' then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez were stopped in a Lincoln Navigator several blocks away. Police retrieved a gun from the car and another outside the club that one witness testified was thrown from the vehicle.