Surprise Witness for Puffy?

Prosecution rests case against Puffy ... almost

February 21, 2001 12:00 AM ET

The prosecution rested its case in the Sean "Puffy" Combs trial, but even after three weeks of testimony, they may still call another witness -- Matthew "Scar" Allen, the man whose dispute with the rap mogul instigated the melee at Club New York on December 27, 1999. Allen had told prosecutors that he would testify against Combs, but had been missing since early January; he is now in the hands of Maryland authorities and waiting extradition to New York.

Detective Arthur Caddigan testified today that he had chased Allen since he had failed to appear in a Brooklyn court on an unrelated gun possession charge, and eventually found him in Prince George's County in Maryland. Witnesses have testified previously that they heard Allen screaming threats at Combs before Allen or someone in his entourage threw money at Combs, which escalated the dispute into gunplay that left three bystanders injured. The defense has tried to cast blame on Allen, saying that the as-yet-unclaimed .40 caliber bullets found at the club could have been his.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos said Allen could be brought to New York this week if his extradition hearing can be waived. If the hearing goes forward, Allen may not take the stand until next week. Bogdanos asked for permission to call Allen after the defense proceeds with their case, to which Comb's attorney Benjamin Brafman strongly objected. Judge Charles Solomon has yet to rule on the prosecution's motion for a continuance, but did say he would allow Bogdanos to call Allen as a rebuttal witness.

Solomon also ruled that Combs and his co-defendants Anthony "Wolf" Jones and Jamal "Shyne" Barrow could not be questioned about past criminal behavior or "bad acts" unrelated to the legal charges against them in this case. Solomon's ruling limits the scope of the prosecution's questioning and increases the likelihood that Combs will take the stand in his own defense, as it protects him from questioning about any previous criminal allegations.

The defense will begin to present their case tomorrow.

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