04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
Jury selection is not scheduled to begin in the Manhattan gun possession trial of rap entrepreneur Sean "Puffy" Combs, 31. But a routine court date on Thursday became a battleground of accusations and disclosures as both sides effectively ignored a gag order on talking to the press about the case. Two prosecution witnesses have informed New York's Daily News that Combs did indeed have a gun in his car as he sped away from a Times Square nightclub shooting in December of 1999, while, notes The New York Times, 30 witnesses will testify that the rap star did not have a gun, his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said he was prepared to reveal at trial. He made the declaration while asking Justice Charles H. Solomon, who is presiding over the case, to lift the gag order. Judge Solomon declined the request, though by that time there were few revelations that had been kept under wraps by the defense attorney. The Times described Combs as sitting languidly at the defense table, wearing a brown pinstriped suit with a handkerchief.