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Witness Says Puffy Had a Gun

In day four of Puffy trial, witness claims Puffy was armed

February 2, 2001 12:00 AM ET

In day four of the Sean "Puffy" Combs trial, a witness testified on Friday that she saw a gun in the hands of the rap mogul, making her the first witness to substantiate the gun possession charges against him. Tarnisha Smith, a twenty-four-year-old nursing student from the Bronx, brought damaging testimony against Combs and Jamal "Shyne" Barrow under direct examination, but weakened her statements later under cross examination.

Smith claimed that she saw the argument between Combs, Barrow and another patron of Club New York and she also testified that she had seen Barrow fire a gun. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos asked Smith, "Did you see any other gun?" and she replied, "The gun Puffy was running out of the club with." She described the gun being held in Comb's right hand, low at his side. As for Barrow, she described seeing his gun having a "spark" coming out of it.

Under cross-examination, Smith's memory was not quite so exact, as she tempered her statements by saying it all happened a long time ago. She used her grand jury testimony -- taken two days after the December 27, 1999 incident -- to refresh her memory. Today she admitted that her testimony was a combination of what she saw and from speaking to her friends who were at the club that night. Combs attorney Benjamin Brafman tried to cast doubt that Smith could have clearly seen the incident, as she is only five feet tall.

Rashane Dellballe, another clubgoer that night, also testified Friday. Dellballe described the fight between Combs, Barrow and another patron, who threw money at the rapper, and said that as Barrow began shooting, someone tried to grab his arm. "All hell broke loose," he testified.

Shooting victim Robert Thompson testified late Thursday that he saw Barrow holding a smoking gun as he lay on the floor after being shot in the shoulder, though he couldn't say for certain if Barrow had fired the bullet that hit him.

The case is scheduled to continue on Monday.

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