|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs Found Not GuiltyAired March 16, 2001 - 6:22 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: This word just in from New York city: a verdict has been reached in the trial of rap artist and entrepreneur Sean "Puffy" Combs. He and two others are charged in the shooting outside a Manhattan nightclub in 1999.
For some background on this case as we await the word on exactly what the verdicts are, let's go to this report from CNN's Michael Okwu.
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was high drama.
CROWD: Not guilty! Not guilty!
OKWU: The charges against Combs stem from a December 1999 shooting at Times Square's Club New York. Prosecutors charged Jamaal Barrow, a Combs protege, with shooting three bystanders. While Combs wasn't charged with shooting anyone, Manhattan assistant district attorney Matt Bogdanos did call on five witnesses who testified the rapper brandished a gun that night. Prosecutors even say he fired a single round at the ceiling.
According to Wardel Fenderson, Combs' driver that night, it was quote, "pure chaos," as Combs, then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez and bodyguard Anthony Jones fled the scene. Bogdanos argued that Combs threw his 9-millimeter, stainless steel Smith & Wesson handgun from the speeding vehicle.
Fenderson testified later that Combs offered him $50, 000 to take the rap for another gun found in the car, another 9-millimeter, stainless steel Smith & Wesson. Bogdanos called the guns so similar there was, quote, "over a 99 million-to-one chance" that they could be found together at random.
SEAN "PUFFY" COMBS, RAPPER: I wanted to just reiterate that I'm innocent.
OKWU: While Jennifer Lopez never testified, Combs took the stand and calmly denied that he had a gun that night, denied that he fled from police and denied that he offered his driver a bribe.
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, called the case a quote, "star- struck prosecution." On cross-examination after cross-examination, he tried to discredit prosecution witnesses, later referring to several of them as opportunists, criminals; calling one a deadbeat dad.
BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, COMBS ATTORNEY: ... that if ever there was a case of reasonable doubt as to Mr. Combs, this is the case; and if ever...
OKWU: Brafman and codefense lawyer Johnnie Cochran argued that all the key prosecution witnesses were hoping to benefit from multimillion-dollar lawsuits against Combs.
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, COMBS ATTORNEY: Of course, that's relevant as to their interest in this case, clearly. And I think that juries understand that.
OKWU: No matter the verdict, where Combs' career goes now is an open question.
Michael Okwu, CNN, New York.
WOODRUFF: Once again, CNN has learned a verdict has been reached in the trial in the Sean Puffy Combs case in New York. He and two others are charged in shooting at a Manhattan -- or outside a Manhattan nightclub in December 1999. Evidently that verdict will be announced just minutes from now; CNN will be bringing it to you. We're going to follow this story just as long as it takes until we know what the verdict is.
We're going to take a break; we'll be back as we watch this story.
WOODRUFF: Quickly recapping a developing story: CNN has learned a verdict has been reached in the trial of rap artist and entrepreneur Sean Puffy Combs. He and two associates charged in a shooting outside a Manhattan nightclub in December 1999.
Joining me now in the studio in Washington, our legal analyst Greta Van Susteren.
Greta, refresh our memories about this story. What is it that Sean Puffy Combs is charged with?
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that depends on who you talk to. If you talk to his lawyers, they'll say that he's charged with something he didn't do. This involves a shooting in a nightclub in New York back in December of 1999, about 14 or 15 months ago. At the time, he was there with some friends partying and there was a shooting; one woman actually got shot in the face.
What's interesting about this case is that it's a relatively thin case as it relates to Puff Daddy, as he's known. But to the other two, it's a much stronger case. It doesn't mean that the verdict is going to be guilty or not guilty for any one of them, but the lawyers going into this case think that it's a much stronger case, from a defense perspective, for Puffy Combs.
Now, the key witness against him was the woman who got shot in the face. But on cross examination when she was asked by Puffy Combs' lawyer, it turns out that she has filed a $150 million lawsuit against him as a result of the shooting. So it's sort of a, you know, who want to be a billionaire, was the theme of the defense -- saying that she came in with a motive to try to stick him with the crime because she wants money.
WOODRUFF: So that hurt her credibility?
VAN SUSTEREN: It hurt her credibility; but, you know, it depends on what the jury thinks. I mean, you know, people file lawsuits because they need to be fairly compensated. If someone shoots you in the face, not only does the person get charged criminally, but there's an issue of civil damages. But, nonetheless, it does reflect on credibility to some degree.
WOODRUFF: Now, Sean Puffy Combs -- Puff Daddy, his nickname as a rap artist, is not charged with shooting, himself, is he? I mean, he's charged with having a gun?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, he's charged with criminal possession of a weapon. He has three counts -- four counts of that, and bribing a witness -- talking to someone afterwards to try to sort of shut him up...
WOODRUFF: Which is another interesting part of the story. He was charged -- the prosecutors say that he tried to talk his driver, at time, into taking the gun and saying it was his?
VAN SUSTEREN: That's right and he tried, basically -- what the theory of the prosecution is is he's trying to shut him up and trying to keep him quiet. And there were some records of phone calls from Puffy Combs to the driver, and the prosecution introduced that in an effort to say, see, ah-hah, he was trying to do this, and only a guilty person would try to cover his tracks like that. But of course -- now the defense has disputed this from day one; that that was not the reasons for the phone calls.
And so, you know, we have no idea -- you know, the jury's been sitting there sifting through this evidence. Puffy Combs testified himself, Judy, which sometimes -- you know, I mean, that can oftentimes be the key testimony because -- does he look like a liar on the witness stand? Does he look like someone who's trying to hide? What kind of attitude does he have when he's cross-examined by the prosecution? The jury is only about five or 10 feet away from the defendant, and they make a lot of their decisions based on what a defendant who likes to take the witness stand does.
WOODRUFF: I just want to clarify something: much has been made that he was or is -- was the close friend of the actress Jennifer Lopez. Now, she had nothing to do with this; she was with him that evening, but is not a part of this trial, is that correct?
VAN SUSTEREN: That's correct; and she has not been charged in this case. So, you know, that's sort of the glitz, the celebrity nature of this. You know, this trial, besides Puff Daddy being a big deal in the music industry and having other businesses, including restaurants -- besides that, he has also Johnnie Cochran as one of his lawyers. So that also had some infusion of celebrity into it. But Johnnie has not been the main lawyer in his defense; it was Ben Brafman, another lawyer in New York, who's been doing almost all the work. So there's a lot of this, sort of, celebrity nature to this case.
WOODRUFF: Greta, you started out by saying this was -- lawyers say, experts say, this is a thin case against Combs. What makes it thin? Why do you characterize it that way?
VAN SUSTEREN: Because it's testimony from people; not forensic, not physical evidence that ties someone necessarily to -- I mean, this isn't the kind of case where you have -- you know, you have a murder scene with fingerprints, for instance, or blood evidence.
This is a case that's built by the prosecution largely on what people said they saw Puffy Combs do, and people who may have a reason to color, embellish, or even to make up stories; and what, sort of, would motivate them is money because of the lawsuit that is filed against him. He's got a lot of money.
WOODRUFF: Talk about the court system. What court is this in in New York -- in the superior?
VAN SUSTEREN: This is in the state court system in New York...
WOODRUFF: In Manhattan, where it happened?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes; right. And the reason why it's in that court is because the nightclub is in that jurisdiction; so the case -- that's where the crime occurred. I mean, there's no doubt a crime occurred. I mean, there was a shooting, someone got shot in the face. I mean, that's not the issue.
So it's actually brought in the state court in New York and the jury is selected from the area in New York and they've been sitting there listening, you know, for weeks to this testimony. They were not sequestered; they've been able to go home at night -- lots of publicity, but I'm sure the judge said, don't read anything and I'm sure that they followed their oath and didn't disobey the judge and didn't read anything. But I assure you that they'll be happy to get this one over with.
WOODRUFF: Greta, as we watch the jury deliberations -- we're not in the room, of course -- it's gone on now for what -- three days of deliberations, is that right?
VAN SUSTEREN: About that.
WOODRUFF: At some point today they asked to have something reread to them. Does that tell us anything about what may be going on, or is it foolish to try to read anything into any of this? VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you what that does tell us: It does tell us it's going to put the lawyers in a tailspin, because every time the lawyers get something, they all do what we do -- say, what does that mean? Oh my God, what does that mean.
And you know what, you never know; you know afterwards. I once had a case where they asked for the testimony of a witness and then they stopped. And it turned out that the reason they stopped is because they were going to do it in alphabetical order and then some ridiculous thing happened, so they decided that they weren't going to continue with this alphabetical order.
I mean, you know, like, lawyers sit around and try too guess what this stuff means. I'll tell you, hypothetically, what can happen is the jurors are unclear, there may be a dispute or they may want to prove one of their fellow jurors wrong -- might want to prove a point.
WOODRUFF: Greta, I'm being told by our producer, Shirley Hung (ph), that the judge has said the verdicts are unanimous. Now, does that tell you anything?
VAN SUSTEREN: That means an acquittal or a guilty verdict. It means that it's not a hung jury.
WOODRUFF: Across the board...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's right. That means that the lawyers will not suffer through another trial in this case unless it gets reversed in a court of appeals in the event of a guilty verdict.
But unanimous means either everybody's guilty or everybody's innocent -- or not guilty, rather.
WOODRUFF: Just to clue in our audience, if you're just tuning in now and listening to Greta Van Susteren and me, we have learned that there has been a verdict in the Sean Puffy Combs trial -- the case in New York where Combs and two of his -- he's also known as Puff Daddy -- he and two of his associates are charged in a shooting at a Manhattan nightclub in December of 1999.
Now, this is a trial that has gone on for weeks. The jurors have been deliberating, what -- this is their third day of deliberations. The jury has returned a verdict and, as we just said a moment ago, the judge has announced the verdicts are unanimous, but we don't know what they are. And we are waiting, of course keeping an eye very closely on the courthouse, where we will bring you that just as soon as we know what it is.
And what is this picture that we're looking at here, Greta? Is this the courthouse?
VAN SUSTEREN: That's the front of the courthouse, obviously...
WOODRUFF: With the bank of microphones, and they're waiting...
VAN SUSTEREN: You can tell by the lights that, you know, the media is all set up; it's expected that -- now, Puffy Combs yesterday issued a gag order on his lawyers not to talk about the case. There had been a gag order on the lawyers from the beginning of the case, but once the case went to the jury, the court lifted that gag order. But then sometime yesterday afternoon, after the lawyers were called back in on a jury matter, Puffy Combs -- I actually had a conversation with one of his lawyers, Johnnie Cochran, last night, who said that Puffy Combs put a gag on the lawyers, and they're not to talk because he didn't want the lawyers going out to the microphones.
Now, we're hoping that what the verdict is today is that the lawyers will come out and talk to us and give us a little bit of an idea...
WOODRUFF: Despite that.
VAN SUSTEREN: But he may still gag his lawyers.
WOODRUFF: All right; well we do not know yet what the verdict is in this case. We're going to take a very short break, and when we come back we'll continue to watch this story live; we'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: A verdict has been reached in the trial of Sean Puffy Combs, the prominent rap singer and entrepreneur charged in the shooting outside a Manhattan nightclub a little over a year ago.
Right now CNN reporter Michael Okwu is in the courtroom -- state court in Manhattan in New York city. Just as soon as a verdict is announced and he's able to call it in to CNN we will tell you what it is.
And just, quickly, we want to repeat, now, what the charges are against Sean Puffy Combs. He is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, second degree; criminal possession of a weapon third degree -- and I'm going to ask Greta Van Susteren what the difference is in just a moment; criminal possession of a weapon found in a car, a Lincoln Navigator, both second and third degree; and also charged with bribing a witness.
And the two associates of Sean Combs, Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow charged with attempted murder for the shooting itself -- for allegedly shooting three people in the club. And Combs' bodyguard, whose name is Anthony, nicknamed "Wolf," Jones faces the same weapons and bribery charges as Combs does.
As I said, our reporter Michael Okwu is in the courtroom, and as soon as he's able to get the verdict out by cell phone we'll find out what it is.
Greta, you're here with me. Now, let's be clear about what these charges are -- criminal possession of a weapon second and third degree with -- on a gun found on 8th Avenue, where the club is.
VAN SUSTEREN: What that means is that the more serious a jury thinks this is -- you know, whether it was used closer in proximity to the crime is the more serious the punishment.
I suspect, in the event that he is convicted -- we're really talking about two guns -- both have a second and third degree charge attached to them. One was found on the 8th Avenue and the other found in the Lincoln Navigator vehicle. I suspect what will happen is, in the event that he's found guilty on all four gun charges that -- something will happen that is called, they'll merge, meaning that he can only be sentenced, probably, on only one each.
It's just simply a way -- when prosecutors charge cases, they try to max you out, to give the greatest opportunity to the jury. And depending how you used that gun -- maybe the jury will think that he, you know, he was right in there using it or they may think he was more part -- farther down the chain of time and was simply tossing it out the winter -- window. So it's a question of how seriously you're using the gun.
WOODRUFF: What -- now the person who is charged with attempted murder, the person who faces the most, in terms of a sentence, here, is Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow. Now what, potentially, would the penalty be -- the punishment be -- and we're looking at a picture of him now -- Greta, what would the penalty be if he were found guilty on all counts?
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I'm not exactly sure what the statute brings. In most instances, though, I mean, a woman was shot in the face. That usually is a life offense, a potential for life when you shoot someone in the face with a gun, or you shoot anyone with a gun, for that matter.
I don't know the precise number of time here. I do know this. I mean, the focus here -- the interesting thing is Sean Puffy Combs is charged with the least amount of crimes, or least serious crimes. And yet all the attention is on him.
WOODRUFF: Is on him.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... because of who he is. And he is facing 15 years in prison if convicted.
VAN SUSTEREN: Maximum. Of course, we don't know if he will be convicted at this point. All we know is that the verdict is a unanimous one, which can only indicate one direction. Either he's guilty or he's not guilty. And that's what we're waiting to find out.
WOODRUFF: Why did the trial take so many weeks? It's been acknowledged there was a shooting. There were a number of witnesses. Why does it take so long to get the story out?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's funny you asked me that. And the first thing I think sort of sarcastically is my co-host on "Burden on Proof" Roger Cossack. And the first thing I think is we're lucky it's not in California, where it would have taken three years.
Look, selecting a jury when it's a celebrity takes much longer because you need to make sure that the jury can be fair to him. They need to know, is he a hero to the jury so you couldn't be fair? Or do you think he's such a bad person, he hangs in a rough crowd, for instance, or his music is rough so he must have been using a gun. That type of person needs to be disqualified. So a lot of the time is spent on jury issues.
Now, I have to tell you, though, a lot of the responsibility on any of these cases is the judge. Closing arguments. The judge let both sides go all day for closing arguments. Frankly, I've been in courtrooms where the judge says, "How much time do you need for closing arguments?" And I'll say, "Three hours." The judge will say, "Fine, you've an hour. Use your best words."
So it's a lot of it -- trials are run by judges. And this is not as long as can happen in some courtroom. But when you give the lawyers lots of time, this is going to happen. But you also don't run the risk of being reversed because you denied the defense, for instance, an opportunity to fully state the argument for the jury.
WOODRUFF: Talk to me candidly right now, Greta. I mean, somebody like Combs, with his wealth is able to get the best lawyers in the country. How does somebody like that -- how do these lawyers stack up against the prosecutors in a situation like this?
VAN SUSTEREN: These are great lawyers. But good lawyers are usually -- how much resources do you have to try a case?
The prosecution has infinitely more resources than Ben Brafman and Johnnie Cochran, even though they have a very rich client. You know, people often think that rich people buy justice. What rich people do is they buy a level playing field.
There are cases -- there's one down in Texas right now where a guy had a death penalty case and his lawyer fell asleep during the trial. That's more common, that people can't afford lawyers.
WOODRUFF: But the state can't spend infinite amounts of money making this case.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sure, they've got a police force. They can do any testing they want. They've got an experienced prosecutor.
They have prosecutors in the courtroom probably every day of the year, who is probably very polished, very experienced. They don't put a junior prosecutor on this. They put somebody who is very experienced.
Chances are the prosecutor has tried more cases in the last two years than both defense lawyers put together.
WOODRUFF: Spoken like a former defense attorney.
VAN SUSTEREN: No, no, no, that too. But look, the prosecutors, they put their best people forward too.
And look, experienced prosecutors are just that. They are experienced. They're the best in the business. They do this day in and day out. They know the judges well. They know the clerks well. They know the courtroom. They know the evidence. They've got the police force. And the defense -- they've got equal resources here.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you a question about the jury, Greta. You talked about how long it takes to make sure people are not going to be influenced one way or another by someone involved in a case who's prominent. How do you ultimately know that the jurors are not going to be affected one way or another either because they think he's a terrific singer or somebody they admire or somebody they don't admire?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, I'm old-fashioned, Judy. I actually believe in the American people. And as cynical as we may be sitting from the outside looking at these cases, I've got to tell you, every time I've tried a case, jurors -- and people from all walks of life, when they get in that jury box, it's the most unusual thing. They all take the job pretty seriously, and they all try to do their best.
Now, they are all colored by their experiences. But what the judge says is that when you walk through the courthouse doors, you don't lose your common sense. There are instances. For instance, people who grew up in communities where police officers take cats out of trees and give safety talks are more inclined to believe what a police officer says.
If you grew up in a community where you've seen police officers roll people. For instance, you grew up some places in California. The best instance is that horrible Rampart scandal in southern California where police officers were planting guns and shooting people, you might not be so quick to credit what a police officer says.
And it's not to say that one is biased against or one is bad, the juror. What is says is your common sense might be different. But in that instance, it is incumbent upon the lawyer, whether it's the prosecutor or the defense attorney, to talk to the jury and to explain the evidence and to hope that the person truly does fairly understand the evidence.
And I've got to tell you, I have seen people who are very educated, and I've seen people very uneducated all pull together and in the most fascinating way fairly judge the evidence. And 12 people, 12 citizens look at that. And they talk to each other. And I have yet to see anyone with a cavalier attitude who just didn't care.
WOODRUFF: Wow, you can tell Greta Van Susteren feels passionately about our system.
VAN SUSTEREN: I love the jurors. I love it. The American people are great when it comes to cases.
I'll tell you the dangerous thing. This is the thing that bothers me... WOODRUFF: We all hope you're right.
VAN SUSTEREN: The jurors have been sitting there day in and day out listening to this evidence, and have given up their jobs, not picked up their kids at school. And then the thing that makes me really mad is people sitting on the sidelines who didn't see all the evidence, all the pundits saying the jury is stupid, the jury is wrong. That's what makes me mad because these 12 jurors, whatever they decide, they have looked at the evidence. The rest of us haven't.
WOODRUFF: All right, we'll keep talking about it.
We are waiting for the announcement of a verdict in the Sean Puffy Combs trial. You can see that's the courthouse in Manhattan where the judge has called all so-called interested parties back in.
CNN's Michael Okwu is there in the courtroom. And as soon as that verdict is announced and he is in a position to call it into CNN, we'll tell you what it is.
We're going to take a break. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: These are live pictures of a courthouse in Manhattan, New York City, where jurors are announcing the verdict in the case of Sean Puffy Combs, the rap artist, rap entrepreneur, music entrepreneur. All of this having to do with a shooting that took place at a Manhattan nightclub in December, 1999.
CNN Legal Analyst Greta Van Susteren with me here in the Washington studio. And Greta, we're waiting for word from our correspondent Michael Okwu, who is sitting there, what, what do you think, in the back of the courtroom most likely?
VAN SUSTEREN: I think he's probably sitting in the media area. It's cordoned off.
But I'll tell you one thing that's sort of interesting to me. They have to go through a lot of charges. There are three defendants here who are facing very serious charges.
But just this sort of -- we lawyers try to figure out what are they deciding in there? In the event of a guilty verdict, they do something called polling the jury where they ask -- the defense lawyer asks that each juror be asked to stand and say is that your verdict. And they go through all 12, all the charges. Remember...
WOODRUFF: Why do they do that?
VAN SUSTEREN: Just to make sure because it has actually happened that when you poll a jury that someone gets sort of buyer's remorse and says, "I really didn't want to. I got pressured by everybody." Then all of a sudden, the jury gets thrown out of the courtroom, goes back in and deliberates. WOODRUFF: But they don't do that if it's a not guilty verdict?
VAN SUSTEREN: No, because -- I mean, I've never seen a prosecutor poll a jury. I guess theoretically -- but I mean, I'll tell you why. You only need one juror to hang the case. So the defense has 12 people there. And they ask to have the jury polled under guilty thinking that there might be someone with sort of "buyers remorse" and say, "I really didn't want to, that wasn't my idea."
But in the flip side is, the prosecution, in order to win, has to have all 12. So you'd have to have all 12 stand up there and change their minds. So, you know, that's why it doesn't happen that way.
But the longer they sit in there, I'll tell you what's going on...
WOODRUFF: In the courtroom?
VAN SUSTEREN: ... in the courtroom.
WOODRUFF: What does it tell you?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it either tells me that they're doing polling. If you and I are still sitting here a half an hour from now that means they're doing polling, which means that there's been a guilty verdict. That's, you know, what I guess.
What happens in a verdict, we've seen it so many times, is that when there's a not-guilty or a guilty verdict, as soon as it's over, the judge always does give a little speech to the jurors, saying, you know, "Thank you for your service. You've done your civic duty. And you've done a tremendous thing for the community, and I hope you come back."
WOODRUFF: Well, as you point out, Greta, a number of charges, I mean, just for Sean Combs -- Puffy Combs, himself, you've got criminal possession of weapon, four different charges there. Two of them related to a gun, I guess, outside the club. Another two related to a gun found in the car that he was in, and then finally, he's charged with bribing a witness.
Another set of five charges involving Combs' bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" -- nickname, "Wolf" -- Jones. He faced the same weapons charges and bribery charges as Combs and then finally, Sean Combs' protege, who's name is Jamaal -- nickname, "Shyne" -- Barrow, he's the one who is charged with attempted murder, charged with actually shooting the woman who was shot, as Greta said a moment ago, in the face.
We have Michael Okwu on the line now. Michael, what can you tell us?
OKWU: Judy, I can tell you this: The verdict came at 6:30, not guilty on all five counts. Again, the jury has found Sean Puffy Combs not guilt on all five counts of gun possession and bribery.
Sorry. Go ahead, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Go ahead, we want to here what you have to say.
OKWU: After the jury found, after the jury foreperson announced the verdict in the presence of at least 30 armed court officers, there was a collective gasp -- and I should tell you that I'm breathing hard because I just ran down a full flight of stairs -- and clapping which was interrupted by the judge.
Combs hugged his lawyers, Ben Brafman and Johnnie Cochran. His mother whispered loudly in the courtroom, "Thank you Jesus," which initiated tears from Combs' supporters who were seated nearby. Throughout the proceeding several of the jurors, in particular juror number six, a white middle aged woman in her 50's, looked at the ceiling. Several of them were visibly upset. Many were crying.
So, again, Judy, here are the counts. Here are the verdicts.
The jury found him not guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, for a gun that was recovered from the street. On the second count, and for that same gun, the jury found him not guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. On the next count the jury found him not guilty, again, of criminal possession of a weapon in second degree. This for a gun recovered from the Lincoln Navigator that Comb's fled the scene in.
On the next hand, and again, for the gun found in the Navigator, the verdict: not guilty, of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. And on the fifth count, the jury's verdict: not guilty for bribing a witness.
I should mention that there were two other codefendants in the trial. Anthony Wolf Jones, his bodyguard, was found also not guilty on all counts. But the same fate did not lie for Jamaal Barrow, one of Combs' proteges. He was found guilty on five counts, including assault, assault in the first degree, second degree; reckless endangerment in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, as well as the third degree.
Now Judy, as you know, the case against Combs and his codefendants was a result, of course, of a shooting at a New York nightclub in 1999. While Combs was never charged with shooting anyone at the club, prosecutors presented five witnesses who claim they saw Combs with a gun that night.
Prosecutors also said Combs threw a 9 millimeter stainless steel hand gun from the Lincoln Navigator as he fled, and that he offered his driver $50,000 to take the rap for a second 9 millimeter hand gun found in the car.
Combs took the stand in his own defense and denied all the charges. His attorneys presented several witnesses who said they never saw a gun on him that night, and accused prosecution witnesses of lying. Basically claiming they were motivated by multi million dollar lawsuits they filed against him. It was an argument that certainly appears to have resonated with the jury -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Michael, just to reiterate, it was Sean Puffy Combs found not guilty on all the five charges against him. His bodyguard also found not guilty, but his so called "protege," Jamaal Shyne Barrow found guilty, not of attempted murder, but of assault and reckless endangerment. Is that correct?
OKWU: That is exactly correct. He was acquitted of the most major charge filed against him, which, as you mentioned, was indeed, attempted murder in the second-degree.
WOODRUFF: And Michael, you were starting to describe the reaction in the courtroom. First of all, as the jury announced its verdict did the judge ask each juror for comment, or was, just one, the head of the jury?
OKWU: Actually the judge was deliberate in this, Judy. He, after the verdicts were read and with each of the defendants in the case, he essentially asked that the jury be polled. And so the verdicts were read over again. I'm sorry, the counts were read over again with the accompanying verdict, and he asked each of the jurors, "Is that, in fact, your decision?" And of course, they all said yes.
WOODRUFF: And again, Michael, reaction once the "not guilty" was announced with regard to Sean Puffy Combs.
OKWU: Well, it was a dramatic moment in the courtroom. What clearly happened in the courtroom today, is the jurors, the court officer, I should say, was going in the order of the indictment that had been filed against all the defendants. Jamaal Shyne Barrow was the first person named in the indictment. Sean Combs was the second person named in the indictment, and again, his bodyguard Anthony Wolf Jones was the third person.
In a slight twist, after they announced all the verdicts against Jamaal Barrow, the judge specifically asked that they go to Anthony Jones, which was interesting since Sean Combs appears second in the indictment. He might have been doing this in order to quell what he may have thought was going to be a very emotional reaction in the courtroom, and, in fact, it was.
When Jones's, when the verdict on Jones was announced, there was a very slight collective sigh. People feeling that if he was found not guilty by the jurors on all his counts, that that was a terrifically good omen for Combs. And in fact, when the decision came down on Combs, again I say that it was a collective gasp in the courtroom, and wild clapping which was interrupted quite sharply by the judge, who had made it very clear beforehand that he did not want any emotional reaction of any kind.
But this is an experienced judge, and of course he'd have to know that over the course of the last six months, and now into the, I'm sorry, the last six weeks and into the seventh week, and with the amount of media attention that has descended upon this courthouse, that there was going to be emotional reaction of that magnitude. Again, I mention that there were at least 30 armed guards situated around the entire courtroom, and friends and family members as well as some very devoted employees of his record company, Bad Boy Records. Many of them, of course, also erupted in tears after the verdict was read -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Michael Okwu, we want to thank you very much for that report and also for rushing to get to the phone to call us.
We can tell, obviously, Michael Okwu out of breath because he ran to get to a place where he could call in, and we want to thank him for that very accurate, very careful reporting that he did.
Greta Van Susteren, our legal analyst, here in the studio with me.
Greta, you started out by saying this was a thin case against Sean Puffy Combs, and it turned out that was the case.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's right. And the one who was convicted is the one who always had the toughest case, and the one who was accused of being the shooter that caused the injury.
But let me point out one thing. This is not over. The worst is over. This is the criminal case. But the woman who was shot in the face has a $150 million case filed against Sean Puffy Combs. And what's interesting about this is it's sort of, remember back, the best example is the O.J. Simpson case. He was found not guilty, but he still faced a civil case and it is possible because the burden of proof in a criminal case is "beyond a reasonable doubt," that it's possible that a civil jury might still think that it's, although it can't meet that standard, that it might meet the 51 percent standard, so...
WOODRUFF: Which is different for a civil...
VAN SUSTEREN: That's right, which is different. But, I mean, you know, he's sued for 150 million. It would shock me if he is found civilly liable, that the verdict would be 150 million. So, worst case scenario, this now becomes a money issue and it may not be that at all.
WOODRUFF: Greta, and -- once you get into a situation like this where you've got, you know, four of these charges so closely connected, criminal possession of a weapon, is it often that the jury will then sort of put it all together and view it as the same offense, if you will?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I don't think so.
WOODRUFF: Are they really careful to look at every one differently?
VAN SUSTEREN: You're talking to a jury lover. Jury lover, whether verdicts are guilty or not guilty. I actually believe that they're really smart and they sift through it and look at each count individually. And the judge actually explains how to do it. Says, "Look -- look at each one individually -- each count individually and each defendant individually."
So unless you get a situation where there are a bunch of witnesses who are clearly lying and the jury would just dismiss it -- but I mean, these are different offenses. There are two gun offenses, and there is the bribing one, which was the phone call to the driver.
WOODRUFF: And they are off the hook, in terms of the criminal charges. You point out Combs still faces potential civil. Now, let's listen. These are some of the attorneys out front. Let's listen.
MICHAEL BACHNER, ATTY. FOR ANTHONY JONES: He was not guilty. He was innocent of these charges. He believed in the system. He was always saying to me, "Why are you so nervous? Why are you so nervous?".
And I told him, "Because I'm a nervous type of guy." But Tony always had faith in God and in the system, and he was acquitted. The jury saw that there was no evidence against him. Wardel Fenderson just was not to be believed. They didn't believe him. The jury did the absolute right thing. Not a single note about Tony during the entire deliberations.
QUESTION: Were you surprised? Were you surprised about the verdict?
BACHNER: Tony's feeling -- frankly, he's happy for himself, but he's upset for Jamaal. He doesn't agree with the verdict for Jamaal. He's a loyal friend. He wishes Jamaal didn't have to go through what he's going through. But we think, ultimately, even for Jamaal, on appeal is going to be OK.
QUESTION: Will he give a statement... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BACHNER: Tony is the shy type. So I don't think Tony's going to be giving any types of statements.
BACHNER: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you?
QUESTION: Were you surprised about the verdict?
BACHNER: You know, it's kind of like when your wife is delivering. You know, you're always surprised that everything went right, but you expect it to. And we expected everything to be OK, but until the jury says it, your stomach is in a knot. Tony's a very, very nice guy. He didn't do this, and we're happy that the jury saw it. It was just a great result. We thank God. We thank everybody.
QUESTION: He's been talking about how he wanted to get out of this town.
BACHNER: Well, Tony is going to be sticking around town, and I think Tony is -- you know, he's trying to get himself into the entertainment business. Doing well for himself, and he's grateful. We're all grateful. Thank you very much, members of the press. Thank you for everything. .
WOODRUFF: That was Michael Bachner, who is the attorney for Anthony Jones, the bodyguard for Sean Puffy Combs. Anthony Jones, like Sean Puffy Combs, found not guilty on all five charges of weapons possession -- four weapons possession charges, and one charge of bribing a witness. Anthony, nickname Wolf, Jones.
Greta, you heard what the attorney said. They're worried about -- obviously, about their friend, Jamaal Barrow.
VAN SUSTEREN: Obviously, they're worried. He was convicted. It will now likely go to the court of appeals. He has a right to appeal it, but I can tell you when cases have to go to the court of appeals, your chances are considerably less.
Lawyers always say, "We're going to appeal this case." Well, you can go ahead and do it, but not many cases are reversed on appeal. It takes a lot to turn a conviction around. So, you know, they have a great deal of concern. The reason they have concern -- convictions don't often get reversed.
WOODRUFF: All right. We've heard, now, from the attorney for Anthony Jones, who is the bodyguard for Sean Puffy Combs. But, Greta, you said a little while ago, you talked last evening with one of the attorneys for Combs, and right now we don't think we're going to hear from them, right?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, yesterday -- what happened was that the judge had a gag order on the lawyers throughout the entire trial, until it went to the -- until the jury took the case to begin deliberations, and then the gag order was lifted. But what happened yesterday is when they were called into court, having to do with a jury issue, a jury note, is that when they came out, Johnnie Cochran told me that there was now a gag order on the lawyers. The one that had been lifted was now -- there's now a gag order imposed by Sean Puffy Combs himself, on his lawyers. He didn't want his lawyers talking.
So I don't know if we're going to hear from Johnnie Cochran or Ben Brafman, who is the other lawyer, was actually the lead lawyer in trying this case, or not. And they may step up to the microphone. I would suspect that Sean Puffy Combs will release his lawyers now to speak, but he may not want to.
WOODRUFF: All right, Greta. Joining us from the courthouse, our own Michael Okwu, reporter, who was with us on the telephone a little while ago.
Michael, that was yeoman's work, because you were out of breath and we know you were running, and we appreciate it. What do you want the add to what we've just been talking about? I know you were able to hear some of what the attorney for Anthony Jones was saying. And just to refresh our audience, Sean Puffy Combs found not guilty on all the five charges against him -- Michael.
OKWU: Well, you've really pretty much covered most of it. I can tell you a little bit again more about the atmospherics in the courtroom.
WOODRUFF: Please do.
OKWU: Well, again, I can tell that this was really dramatic. At the risk of sliding in a hyperbole, I really haven't seen anything quite like this. There was so much attention over the last six, now seven, weeks in that courtroom, and you knew -- you just knew that at the end of this, there was going to be an emotional outpouring.
I think what was very interesting about this is given the fact that Sean Puffy Combs is a hugely successful record executive -- his wealth has been estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million -- he has had past brushes with the legal system, again, in the past. You would think that he had so much to lose, and yet he was sitting there in the well of the courtroom, telling very animated stories with his lawyers, both Ben Brafman and Johnnie Cochran, who, themselves, are quite animated individuals, and having just a whale of a time.
At one point, he walked over into the courtroom to talk to his mother, who was seated, conveniently, right behind me, and he said to her, "How ya feeling?" and she said, "I'm OK."
And he said, "You sure you're doing all right?"
And she said, "Just fine." And then he walked back to the well of the courtroom, sat beside his lawyers, and regaled them with more tales of whatever it was he was talking about.
WOODRUFF: Michael, Greta Van Susteren, legal analyst, is just reminding me that it was Ben Brafman who led the defense for Sean Puffy Combs, and not Johnnie Cochran, who, of course, is more prominently known because of his role in the O.J. Simpson trial. What is your understanding of why it was Brafman and not Cochran who was leading the defense?
OKWU: I can't tell you exactly why it was Ben Brafman and not Johnnie Cochran leading the defense. I can tell you that Ben Brafman personally told me that he wanted Johnnie Cochran to play a little bit more of a prominent role in terms of conducting some of the cross examinations of some of the prosecution witnesses.
And Johnnie Cochran apparently said to him, "No, I think you're handling it quite well." I should tell you -- for those people who don't know who Ben Brafman is -- he was a rather extraordinary presence in the courtroom. He was up against, I should say, another extraordinary presence, if you listen to what all the other lawyers at this courthouse had to say about Matt Bogdanos, who was the assistant Manhattan D.A. who was on the case.
But Brafman was a very crafty litigator in there. He argued, quite effectively it turns out, that the prosecution witnesses who testified that they saw Combs with a gun that night -- and at least one prosecution witness who said that they saw Combs actually fire a gun into the ceiling that night -- were all motivated by money. That, in fact, they had all filed multimillion dollars lawsuits against Combs, and they obviously stood to benefit from a conviction in this case. And that appears to be something that resonated quite profoundly with the jury.
WOODRUFF: So, Michael, you were able to listen to most, if not all of the testimony. How would you sum up the prosecution?
OKWU: The prosecution's argument went something like this. That there were three guns recovered. In fact, Matt Bogdanos -- again, the prosecutor in the case -- in his summation, opened it first by playing a recording of the scene that night. I don't know where he got that. But he played a recording of the bedlam after the shooting that night to remind people that: Look, this is not a star-struck prosecution as the defense would have you believe, but this is a case in which three people were hurt, and in a couple instances, quite seriously.
He made the point that: We have recovered three guns. Two of which are so similar in make, material, finish -- they were both 9 mm semiautomatic Smith & Wesson handguns. And he said that -- he actually presented a mathematical equation right there in the courtroom -- he said, look, anyone who's taking probability and statistics, will tell you there is an over 99 million to one chance that guns so similar in all those traits could be found together at random.
There's some sources here who told me that fact alone was what convinced Bogdanos over a year ago that, in fact, Combs and "Wolf" Jones were guilty.
WOODRUFF: But that didn't persuade is jury?
OKWU: Say again, Judy?
WOODRUFF: I said it still did not persuade the jury, as you've just described it.
OKWU: It did not persuade the jury. He even went on to -- he brought out Wardel Fenderson, who was Combs' driver that night. There are some people who were listening to the testimony who thought Fenderson was a very believable witness -- you never know.
WOODRUFF: That is true. And we appreciate your being there as our correspondent, Michael Okwu, and reporting -- reporting from the courthouse in Manhattan where a jury has returned unanimous verdict finding Sean Puffy Combs not guilty on all five counts against him.
His bodyguard -- also not guilty, however, the protegee of Sean Puffy Combs, Jamaal Barrow, charged with attempted murder, he was found guilty of assault on at least two counts and of so-called reckless endangerment.
We are going to take a break. When we come back, more live coverage of this developing story, the trial of Sean Puffy Combs. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WOODRUFF: Rap star and entrepreneur Sean Puffy Combs, just within this past hour, found not guilty by a jury in New York on five charges associated with a shootings in a Manhattan nightclub in late 1999.
The jurors found Combs not guilty on four charges of weapons possession, two of those charges associated with a gun at the nightclub in New York City, in Manhattan, the other two -- a gun found in a car, a Lincoln Navigator, that Combs was riding in after the incident.
And finally, Combs found not guilty of the last charge, bribing a witness. Now, Combs' bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones faced the same weapons and bribery charges as Combs did, he too found not guilty on all five of those charges.
However, Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow, Combs' protegee, was charged with attempted murder, but he was found guilty of two assault charges and reckless endangerment.
Greta Van Susteren, our legal analyst here in the studio, it is Mr. Barrow who has to be very unhappy one here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, absolutely. He had the more serious charges. I mean, clearly someone was hit in the face with a bullet, and witnesses put a gun in his hand.
The charges against Sean Puffy Combs were very different. He was not charged with as serious counts. He was charged with possession of handgun, four different counts, allegedly relating to two guns. So, certainly, he's the unhappy one tonight, and he's the one that's going to have to go to the court of appeals, but the jury has spoken.
WOODRUFF: Greta, we've heard from the attorneys for Mr. Jones, who is Combs' bodyguard. He spoke very briefly at the microphones there at the courthouse. We're still waiting to see whether Combs' attorneys, Ben Brafman and Johnnie Cochran will come out and talk.
And I know you spoke with Johnnie Cochran last night, and at that point, he's been telling us, Sean Combs didn't want his attorneys to say anything, but maybe that will change?
VAN SUSTEREN: That's right. I mean, I called him in an effort to get Johnnie Cochran to talk, and he didn't talk, and what he told me is that he had a gag order, so all I knew is that he wouldn't talk. It may change. The court-ordered gag order was lifted when the jury began deliberating, but Sean Puffy Combs put another gag order on his lawyers, so I was waiting for that gag order to lift so I can get some information.
WOODRUFF: That picture there, Greta, is the scene outside the courthouse in Manhattan, Manhattan being the location of the nightclub where the shooting took place in December 1999. As we've been saying, we have now heard from the attorneys for Anthony Jones, we have not heard from Sean Puffy Combs' attorneys, nor have we heard from the prosecutors, who of course, have to be disappointed in at least part of the verdict that was reached by this jury.
Greta, in a case like this, so much of the focus is on the star defendant. Very little of the attention, it seems to me, is on the witness -- I'm sorry, on the person who's suffered in this crime, the woman who was shot in the face and the others who were hurt.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, in some ways, but remember, you know, the victim of the crime was in the courtroom, told what she believed happened, testified under oath, she was cross-examined.
One of the problems that the prosecution faced in this case, and what the prosecutors often face is if the victim of the crime has sued the accused civilly, so it appears -- when you get up on cross- examination, the defense attorney of course, says, you know, madam witness, you are testifying here against my client, isn't it a fact that you have filed a civil suit for $150 million? Isn't this an effort to get rich? And isn't it -- you know, the question of whether or not you get rich, whether you get this $150 million dependent on whether or not my client is convicted. So, you undermine the credibility of someone who's got -- who may have an axe to grind or another reason to testify.
WOODRUFF: But Greta, this person was clearly aggrieved -- I mean, she was shot in the face -- would it have been logical for her to wait to file suit until after this criminal case was behind her, and then to proceed with a civil suit against Combs? Would that have been a logical thing to do?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it might have been better for the prosecution. Typically, a civil case statute of limitations is three years. This case -- this event occurred December of 1999, so she could have waited three years.
Now of course, even with that, the cross-examination -- if she had waited longer, the statute of limitations -- I don't know what it is in New York for simple negligence, which is what this would be -- but if the statute of limitation were three years, the prosecution still would have had to face the prospect of a cross-examination that the witness would be asked, do you intend to file a civil lawsuit? Do you intend to make this money? So, it still has sort of a bite, and make it difficult for the prosecution.
But that's not the only problem. Look, when you cross-examine someone who has been shot in the face, of course the person's ability to recall, to remember, may be seriously, you know, diminished. And the jury, I assume, feels very bad for this woman. Anybody would. This woman is very badly hurt, and it's a terrible thing that happened to her, but the jury is supposed to be dispassionate and try to see, is what she says -- is what she has to say -- is it truthful? Does she have a motive to lie? Or, not only that, is -- was she so severely injured that she may not be able to recall accurately? Was it crowded? Did she have a hard time seeing?
So, all these matters fold in, and the jury's job is not, unfortunately -- it sounds terrible -- is not to feel sorry for the victim who was indeed hurt very much, but instead to weigh the evidence in a dispassionate manner and try to determine whether it's proven beyond a reasonable doubt the charges alleged against the accused.
And in the case of Sean Puffy Combs, there were possessions of gun charges and there was a bribery charge, and they -- and they considered that evidence, and they have obviously now made their decision.
WOODRUFF: All right, Greta.
We are looking at a picture of the courthouse in Manhattan where the jury did reach a verdict just within the hour. You see a bank of microphones there. We've heard from some of the attorneys, but not all. We haven't heard from the defense attorneys representing Sean Puffy Combs, we have not heard from the prosecution.
Greta, in your experience, would the prosecution be likely to want to come out and give its side of what happened?
VAN SUSTEREN: It might. It depends on the prosecution. It depends on the philosophy of the office. Some prosecuting offices are more vocal than others.
This prosecutor would walk out to the microphones having won convictions for the more serious offenses. The gun possession charges against Sean Puffy Combs are less serious than the offense which resulted in the shooting and hitting this woman in the face. So indeed, the prosecution has won at least part of the case.
The prosecutor no doubt is somewhat disappointed. But prosecutors are supposed to be very proud of their work when they put their evidence in fairly and the jury makes a decision. Prosecutors, this isn't a question, it shouldn't be hypothetically a question of whether or not the prosecutor wins or not, but whether or not the prosecutor can be proud that the evidence was presented in a fair way and that the jury made a decision. And as to the verdict, the prosecution did win some of the counts.
WOODRUFF: You know, Greta, we're showing the outside of courthouse. We're not showing anything on the inside of the courthouse, not inside the courtroom. I think many in this country have gotten accustomed to seeing the inside of some courtrooms because some states do allow cameras, television cameras, in the courtroom. Not in the case of New York, though.
VAN SUSTEREN: You never see it in federal courthouses, which of course, don't get me started on that, Judy, about how federal judges won't let the American people inside to see what goes on.
But one of the problems we have here is look, a lot of the American people are going to be unhappy with this verdict. And you know what? You never saw the evidence. Those that are happy with the verdict, they didn't see the evidence either. And if you have cameras in the courtroom, you have a chance to at least see the evidence to see whether or not you might agree. But even having said that, it's a lot different sitting in the jury box, being five or 10 feet away from the witnesses, assessing credibility, and listening to the evidence and actually looking at diagrams, looking at pictures, than it is watching through your television screen at home.
And the one thing I always try to pound in is that sitting in a courtroom being one of 12 and making a collective decision is a pretty good way to try to have justice in this country.
WOODRUFF: We continue to wait for prosecutors and the attorneys representing Sean Puffy Combs and his other codefendant Jamaal Shyne Barrow to come out of that courthouse. We will continue to wait. We are going to take a short break. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Recapping the story from New York City, a jury has found rap artist and entrepreneur Sean Puffy Combs not guilty in a case where there were five counts against him of weapons possession, an attempt to bribe a witness, in a shooting at Manhattan nightclub, in December, 1999. Sean Puffy Combs acquitted on all five counts, his bodyguard also acquitted, Anthony Wolf Jones acquitted on five similar charges.
However, Sean Puffy Combs' protege Jamaal Barrow was found guilty on charges of -- two assault charges and one charge of reckless endangerment.
CNN's Michael Okwu at the courthouse in Manhattan, where the jury returned the verdict.
Michael, you just got some new information?
OKWU: Yes, what we know at this point is, of course, we are still waiting for Sean Combs to come down and talk in front of cameras. We are hoping that we can get some word from his two colawyers, defense lawyers, in this case, Ben Brafman and Johnnie Cochran.
We do know that the prosecutor in the case, Matt Bogdanos, has left the courthouse and has walked away from here without talking in front of the cameras. He didn't do much of that during the course of the trial. Of course, there was gag order in this case imposed by the judge.
But even when that gag order was lifted once the jury began its deliberations, he was pretty reticent before the cameras. That tends to be the case sometimes with some prosecutors. What I can tell you at this point is there is a lot of media attention. We are all huddled here waiting to hear what they have to say.
There was some indication, as Greta has pointed to, yesterday that Combs did not want his lawyers to speak in front of the cameras. That, of course, might change. And, in fact, Johnnie Cochran told me personally that that might change, depending on his mood.
And speaking of moods, I want to just go back into the courtroom again. Matt Bogdanos, the prosecutor who I talked to you about earlier, called this "a fight against the arrogance of power." He took this quite seriously. And there was a great emotional reaction once the verdict was read against him.
WOODRUFF: All right, Michael Okwu at the courthouse in Manhattan where a jury within the hour found Sean Puffy Combs, the prominent rap artist, musician, and entrepreneur, not guilty on five charges in connection with a shooting in Manhattan at a nightclub in December, 1999.
Now, here is Sean Combs himself, Puff Daddy the nickname, coming to the cameras. Let us listen.
COMBS: Thank you. Thank you. Love you all,
I just want to say I give all glory to God. I give all glory to God. If it wasn't for God, I wouldn't be able to walk out here to talk to you all today.
I want to thank my mother for being by my side every day, coming to court with me every day. I want to thank God for just being here for me and just protecting me, and my lawyers, bringing me two great lawyers, three great lawyers.
I just -- and all the people, and all my fans and my staff, all the people in New York, everybody that's prayed for me all over the world and sent me prayers and messages. Thank for you your prayers. You've given me support. The people in New York just when I'm walking in streets just telling me to keep my head up.
I'm just so grateful today. And to my whole family, I'm just really right now just very emotional. I'm at really a loss. I'm just very emotional. I feel blessed.
I'm just so, you know, I mean, I'm going to talk about all that later. Right now, I just want to go and be with my kids. And I'm just grateful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about Shyne, Mr. Combs?
COMBS: I'm just grateful. Thank you.
BRAFMAN: I've got something to say if you want to hear it. I want you to listen carefully because I want you all to note this.
It is quite customary when people win the Super Bowl they are on television saying they are going to Disneyland. Well, I feel like I just won the Super Bowl. This quarterback is going right to synagogue to thank God.
Thank you very much. I love you all.
COCHRAN: Thank you, Ben. Thank you, Ben. BRAFMAN: Did you get that?
COCHRAN: Got it. I think in this case, we basically proved Sean Combs' innocence. I love Ben Brafman. He's the greatest. He's the greatest. I think we actually proved his innocence. I think Sean Combs taking the stand, I think we made some strong decisions, I think we made the right decision not calling Jennifer. It was on Sean's back, he did the right thing, he testified, he withstood the cross- examination, and he prevailed.
I just want to say that this is a great exhilarating victory for Sean Combs. It's a victory really for all of us, because he was wrongly accused. These last 14 months have been very, very tough, and that courtroom today -- it was -- the pressure was unbearable, through all those verdicts, to finally get to his not-guilties, five not- guilties, that will resound and ring in our ears forever.
So, we thank God -- and I want to say, for Ben Brafman and I -- and Andrea Zellen (ph) -- it was an honor and a privilege to represent Sean Combs. Very good.
No. We thought that -- we -- we thought when they linked Jones with Mr. Combs, that it would mean whatever one got, the other one would get, and the jury did just the right thing. And I'd like to praise this jury, they were fantastic. Thank you all for being fantastic, I'm going to head back to California. I'm not going to Disneyland, I'm going home to California, thank you guys. Take care.
WOODRUFF: Attorney Johnnie Cochran saying they made the right call by not calling Jennifer Lopez, the actress, to the stand. She was with Sean Combs the night of that shooting in 1999. We heard Sean Combs himself, Puff Daddy, say he was thanking God, thanking his mother and his three great attorneys.
I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. More on this story coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" at 8:00 Eastern.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top|