05/08/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT
Sean "Puffy" Combs took the stand in his own defense today in his gun possession and bribery trial, testifying that he thought he was the intended victim when shots rang out at Club New York on Dec. 27, 1999, according to the Associated Press. "I thought I was being shot at," Combs told attorney Benjamin Brafman. "My hands were up. I started to go down. Everybody started falling all over each other.'' Among the people falling on top of him, Combs added, was his bodyguard, Anthony "Wolf" Jones, who is also charged with gun possession in the trial. Combs said the gunfire rang out shortly after Jones accompanied him and his then-girlfriend, singer Jennifer Lopez, from the VIP section of Club New York to the exit early that December evening -- just after Combs and his entourage walked past a large circular bar in the center of the club. At that point, they encountered a man later identified as Matthew "Scar" Allen, whom Combs said was "mouthing off" at him. Throughout his testimony, Combs reiterated that he was afraid for his life. "I had felt the shots were for me," Combs added. "As fast as I could get down there, I was just trying to get away from danger." In the chaos of the shooting, Combs said he became separated from Lopez and saw her run up a flight of stairs to the club offices. "I can't go," he recalled telling his bodyguard. "I have to go find Jennifer." But eventually, Combs said, he, Lopez and two bodyguards left in the Navigator driven by Wardel Fenderson. What happened next is for the jury to decide. Prosecutors allege that Combs tried to bribe Fenderson, into claiming ownership for the gun police found. But on the stand today, Combs vehemently denied the charge. During cross-examination, prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos insinuated that Combs's direct testimony was a well-rehearsed performance.
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