While Sean "Puffy" Combs and bodyguard Anthony Jones stand trial in New York City on charges of weapons possession stemming from a 1999 nightclub incident, a Los Angeles Times report about an Atlanta investigator renewing his inquest into a 1995 murder case, that reportedly involves both men, has created a wave of outrage among Combs' camp.
On the morning of September 23, 1995, Jai Hassan-Jamal Robles was shot and killed at the Platinum House in Atlanta following a party for producer Jermaine Dupri. The L.A. Times story, which ran Wednesday, revealed that the investigation into the killing is still active, and includes the names of Combs and Jones as well as Death Row Records CEO Marion "Suge" Knight.
According to the report, Chris Howard, an off-duty deputy sheriff who was working security for the event that night, told investigators that a dispute between the Death Row and Bad Boy Entertainment camps led to their being ousted from the event and escorted to their vehicles. Outside, Howard told the Times that an assailant shot Robles two or three times before leaving the scene. The Times also reports that several witnesses reported Jones to be the shooter, though no weapon was ever recovered.
A source close to Combs attributed the rehashed report to the Manhattan District Attorney's office in New York City, who is prosecuting Combs and Jones for weapons possession. According to the Times report, the D.A.'s office is working with Atlanta authorities on the two unrelated cases. The Manhattan D.A.'s office refused to comment, citing the New York City case's gag order.
As for Jones' and Combs' respective camps, both offered denials of any involvement, and questioned the timing of the report.
"It's apparent that law enforcement has planted this false and defamatory story regarding an incident that occurred five years ago," Jones' attorney Michael F. Bachner told RollingStone.com. "Mr. Jones had nothing to do with the incident and Mr. Combs was not even with him that evening."
Combs attorney Benjamin Brafman released a statement distancing his client from the incident. "Mr. Combs had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the incident in 1995," the statement reads. "We do not believe that the timing [of the report] is coincidence but rather part of a concerted effort by members of the law enforcement community to compromise Mr. Combs' chances to have a fair trial in his New York City case."
As for Knight, he is still serving a nine-year sentence for violating probation at the Mule Creek Penitentiary in California. He is eligible for parole on April 25th.
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