04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
Lawyers for rap entrepreneur Sean "Puffy" Combs asked a Manhattan judge on Tuesday to postpone yesterday's start of jury selection in the musician's weapons and bribery case, but jury selection did begin on Wednesday, as originally planned. "If you ever had a desire to serve on a jury, I can assure you, professionally and personally, this will be a good one," Judge Charles Solomon told prospective jurors. The case, he said, could last five to six weeks. On Dec. 27, 1999, Combs, now 31, reportedly fled a Times Square nightclub with his girlfriend, actress-singer Jennifer Lopez, after three people had been shot. Police allege that they found a gun in Combs's Lincoln Navigator and then claimed that Combs attempted to bribe his driver into saying that the weapon was his. On Tuesday, Combs's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told Judge Solomon that publicity about his client, especially tabloid stories about his past brushes with the law, were damaging Combs's chances of getting a fair trial. Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos denied Brafman's accusation that it was he (Bogdanos) who provided New York's Daily News with a list of Combs's past incidents.