A doctor's testimony is the latest surprise in the Sean ''Puffy'' Combs trial

By Lori L. Tharps
Updated February 09, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
Sean Puffy Combs: Lorenzo Ciniglio/Corbis Sygma

”I was shot by Puffy.” This was the surprising testimony uttered by Dr. John Perrotti in Room 733 of New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday morning in the weapons and bribery case against Sean ”Puffy” Combs. Perrotti, the emergency room physician on duty at St. Claire’s Hospital on the night of the shooting, testified under oath that when gunshot victim Natania Reuben was wheeled into the emergency room, she blurted out that the hip hop mogul had shot her.

Combs’ high powered defense team was so unprepared for the doctor’s surprising testimony that they moved to have the statement stricken from the record. But the Honorable Judge Charles Solomon said he’d wait until later to decide on their objection.

After Perrotti, things went from bad to worse for Combs, as yet another prosecution witness said he saw Puffy with a weapon at Club New York on the morning of December 27, 1999. ”He had a gun in his hand,” shooting victim Julius Jones, 28, told jurors. Describing the handgun as a black automatic, Jones stood up and demonstrated how he remembered seeing Combs holding the weapon close to his waist in his right hand. The Brooklyn native and former construction worker clarified that he never witnessed Combs shoot the pistol, saying he only saw codefendant Jamal ”Shyne” Barrow fire a weapon. Jones, who still has a bullet from that night lodged near his spine and suffers from permanent nerve damage, is suing Combs, Barrow, and codefendant Anthony ”Wolf” Jones (among others) for $700 million.

During cross examination, Johnnie Cochran tried to discredit Jones’ testimony by suggesting he’d been drinking Alize malt liquor and smoking marijuana, and that the club was too crowded to clearly see what was going on. Jones responded, however, that he’d only had two drinks over a two hour period and two tokes on a joint. ”I wasn’t drunk,” Jones said. Cochran then alluded to Jones’ lawsuit as a motive for lying. But Jones responded, ”I’m not trying to bring a black man down…[but] someone was responsible for me being hurt.”

The prosecution’s case is expected to continue at least through the end of this week. No word yet about whether Jennifer Lopez will be called as a witness, though her lawyer, Louis Aidala, sits in the courtroom almost every day taking notes. If convicted, Combs faces up to 15 years in prison for gun possession.