'Puffy' Says 'I'm Innocent'

11/11/1998 at 12:00 AM EST



A New York grand jury has indicted Sean "Puffy" Combs on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from a Dec. 27 shoot-out at a Manhattan nightclub. Also indicted was his bodyguard, Anthony Jones. If convicted, Combs could face up to 15 years in prison. The millionaire hip-hop producer, 30, is being represented by Johnnie Cochran (whose clients have included O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson) and Benjamin Brafman (who defended mob kingpin Sammy "The Bull" Gravano on a murder rap). The lawyers said Combs will plead not guilty to the charges. "The decision to indict me is wrong," Combs said in a statement. "I'm innocent, and we will prove it. I am putting my faith in God, and I know my name will be cleared." The grand jury spent three weeks investigating the shooting, which left three people wounded. After the gunfire, Combs fled the scene in a Lincoln Navigator with his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Lopez, 29. Grand jurors had previously indicted Combs's protégé, Jamal "Shyne" Barrow, 21, on attempted murder and assault charges after witnesses said he shot the three victims at the Times Square club.

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