By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
Myers testified she tapped Combs on the shoulder after he squared off in an argument with the "loud, forceful, and intimidating" Matthew "Scar" Allen over a spilled drink. "I basically told him, 'You don't need this, let's move towards the VIP area, or if you're leaving, then we'll escort you to the door,' " Myers said under questioning from Combs defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. As they headed toward the door, Myers said she heard Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow shout, "Fuck this shit!" then saw him "firing a gun." Myers said that in the ensuing chaos she fell on top of Combs and never saw Combs with a gun.
In rebuttal testimony last Friday, a detective testified Myers told him she was not there when the altercation started and shooting broke out. Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos, who has accused the defense of witness tampering during the six-week trial, presented telephone records indicating that calls were made between Combs or members of the Bad Boys family and three defense witnesses who later testified Combs did not have a gun. Each witness denied speaking with Combs after the incident.
Records show a three-minute call from Myers's home to Combs's cell phone on January 8 last year. The records also show five calls last January from a cell phone owned by Christopher Chambers, an auto technician who testified that he did not know Combs. Combs apparently called him once that month. A third set of calls, 22 of them last December, came from witness Glen Beck's home to a Combs bodyguard, Paul Offord. Saima Majid, a paralegal in the district attorney's office who analyzed the records, said she found no calls between Beck and Offord in the preceding year. During cross-examination by Combs's co-counsel, Benjamin Brafman, Majid said she could not tell who had made a call or answered a telephone. She could only say who owned a phone and that a call was made or received on it.
"I felt all along that Cherise Myers was lying because Puffy's own witnesses didn't see her in the area where the argument started," says a supporter of Barrow who asked not to be identified. "That woman is just a bit too conspicuous for people not to have seen her. She is six feet tall and about 210 pounds. I don't understand how Trenton Stewart [the security guard in charge the night of the shooting] didn't see her over there."
Another courtroom watcher sympathetic to Barrow notes that a different security guard had testified that it was Anthony "Wolf" Jones, Combs's bodyguard, who fell on top of Combs. "But Cherise Myers said she fell on top of Puffy," the sympathizer fumes. "You noticed the prosecutor making a conscious effort to ask everyone if they had seen her there. Puffy and them knew she was lying. But her lie didn't hurt them; it helped them. So they didn't care about Shyne."
According to assistant D.A. Matthew Bogdanos, Sean Combs and Anthony Jones first introduced the concept of Puff love in the Bad Boys family to Wardel "Woody" Fenderson, a 42-year-old father of two whom Combs allegedly repeatedly tried to bribe to take the rap for a gun. Fenderson testified in court that he saw Combs stick a gun into his waistband before his trip to Club New York. In his opening remarks, Bogdanos reconstructed Combs's desperate efforts to work out a deal with Sergeant Jack Konstantinidis after he, Fenderson, Jones, and Jennifer Lopez had been arrested. It reads like a Hollywood script.
"OK. Deal! Deal!" Combs told Konstantinidis. The sergeant had confirmed as accurate the rapper's understanding that if one of them took the heat for the gun, the others would not be charged. "Deal! I'll get you the owner of the gun."
Combs picked the patsy: Wardel Fenderson. As they stood before the desk sergeant at the precinct, Combs leaned over to Fenderson and whispered in his ear: "Take the gun. Say it's yours. I will give you $50,000."
"I have never been convicted, never been in trouble," the "petrified, frightened beyond explanation" Fenderson replied.
"Take it," Jones advised Fenderson. "He is good for it. You will be part of the family if you take it."
A "stunned" Fenderson did not say anything. The suspects were split up and Jones and Fenderson handcuffed to a railing and placed in a holding cell. Combs was also handcuffed to a railing a few feet away and could slide back and forth. That's when he launched "a relentless, unremitting barrage," to get Fenderson to accept his offer.
"Take the gun! Say it's yours. Do it now," Combs implored Fenderson. "I'll give you $50,000. I'll take care of everything. I'll pay your bail. I'll pay for your lawyer. You don't have to worry; you'll be one of us. You will be one of a family now. Take the gun. I can't go to jail. I'm Puff Daddy. I can't go to jail. Miss Lopez, she can't go to jail. You got to take the gun."
"Do it," Jones urged. "Come on. I'm a predicate [felon]. I'll do time for the gun. I can't take my gun. You got to take it. You have never been arrested. You have never been in trouble. The worse you will get is probation. Do it. You don't believe me?"