As the prosecution begins to wrap its case against Sean “Puffy” Combs, Anthony “Wolf” Jones and Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, more witnesses testified Wednesday about firearms spotted in and outside the Lincoln Navigator that carried Combs away from Club New York on December 27, 1999. One witness said that he found a gun that the prosecution alleges was thrown out of the vehicle.
George Pappas, who was parked near Club New York the evening of the incident, said that he was sitting in his car when he felt something hit his bumper as the Lincoln Navigator carrying Combs, Jones and Jennifer Lopez sped by with police chasing. Pappas got out of his car and said he saw a gun on the ground. But on cross-examination, Pappas admitted that he didn’t actually see the gun thrown from the vehicle.
Combs’ usual driver Bill Williamson (who wasn’t driving the vehicle after the shooting) also testified today, elaborating on the hidden compartments in the Lincoln Navigator that were a touchy subject on Friday, when another witness referred to them as “gun compartments.” Williamson said that both he and Combs were unable to open the two hidden compartments, as only his security chief had been taught how to do so.
Witnesses who testified late Friday, including several police officers involved in the chase with the Lincoln Navigator and its eventual stop, claimed that they saw Combs’ hands moving before he exited the vehicle, which the prosecution used in its argument that Combs was hiding a gun under the front seat.
The defense also made a motion to partially lift a gag order established at the trial’s outset by Judge Charles Solomon, so that they could comment about an article in Wednesday’s New York Post, which claimed prosecutors were also investigating Combs for witness tampering. Three prosecution witnesses so far — Leonard Curtis Howard, Gavin “Pretty Boy” Marchand and Tarnisha Smith — have changed their stories from what they originally testified before the grand jury and what they told authorities about the shooting, making their testimony in this trial more favorable to the defense.
Meanwhile, Combs’ publicist issued a statement Wednesday announcing the end of his relationship with Jennifer Lopez, which could affect the prosecution and/or defense’s decision to call her and the jury’s evaluation of her testimony.
The trial continues today.