His gag order gone, along with the threat of incarceration, rap mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs is now talking. "My No. 1 priority is God," Combs, concerned with his image, repeatedly told The New York Times in an interview he gave before his acquittal on gun possession and bribery charges was announced Friday night. (In accordance with the court's gag order, the interview could not be printed until after the verdict.) On Saturday, Combs, 31, told Time magazine for an interview that appear in this week's issue (which hits stands on Monday), "I've changed, I've matured . . .This whole thing has made me deeper." And in an interview published in Sunday's Newsday, Combs said that his legal ordeal had upset his children (Christopher, 2, Justin, 7) "because kids were talking about it at school." The hip-hop entrepreneur Combs credited God, his lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Benjamin Brafman, and the jury for his sweet victory. This morning on the "Today" show, Cochran said that before the verdict was announced, Combs was reading the 23rd Psalm. Cochran also called rapper Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow, a Combs protege who admitted firing a gun inside the Times Square nightclub in the incident that sparked the trial, "a nice young man with a promising career." The remark prompted show host Katie Couric to ask what a "nice young man" was doing shooting a gun. Cochran suggested that someone besides Barrow may have fired a gun that night. Barrow was convicted of assault, reckless endangerment and weapons charges. He faces up to 25 years in prison.
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