More on The Puff Daddy Trials
NEW YORK Puff Daddy driver Wardel Fenderson acknowledged a few
inconsistencies and memory lapses under grueling cross-examination by defense lawyers on
Friday, but held fast to the core of his testimony: that he saw Sean "Puffy"
Combs with a gun and that Combs later tried to bribe him.
In his initial testimony on Thursday, Fenderson described how Combs, with the help of
bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones, allegedly offered him $50,000 to claim ownership
of a gun that police found in Combs' Lincoln Navigator. Fenderson had driven the Navigator
as Combs, Jones and Jennifer Lopez fled Club New York after the Dec. 27, 1999 shootings
Fenderson also described seeing Combs tuck a gun into his waistband before entering Club
New York, as well as seeing what appeared to be a gun in Jones' waistband during the
flight from the club.
Jones' lawyer, Michael Bachner, asked if what Fenderson described as a bribe was actually
a "shakedown" attempt by Fenderson. The witness said it was not.
Fenderson acknowledged that 22 minutes after he, Combs, Lopez and Jones arrived at the
Midtown North police precinct, he told a police officer that the gun in the Navigator was
his. Earlier, he had said that Combs and Jones began trying to bribe him when they were
first brought to the precinct after their arrests.
"It took 20 minutes of intense pressure to compromise you?" Brafman asked
Fenderson quickly changed his mind in the station house, and told police the gun wasn't
The decision, he said Friday, came after he met with a lawyer at the station. The lawyer
who had been hired by Combs and was also representing Jones at the time told
Fenderson that his initial choice to accept the alleged bribe was "f---ing
insane," the driver said.
He said Friday that despite his testimony that Combs bailed him out of jail on December 27
as part of the alleged bribery agreement, Combs didn't force Fenderson to pay his own bail
once the driver told him that he wouldn't take the blame for the gun.
Fenderson had previously said he was frightened of Jones, and that his relationship with
the bodyguard was "tenuous." But Fenderson acknowledged Friday that after they
were released from jail, he willingly rode alone in a limousine with Jones and had drinks
Defense lawyers repeatedly reminded the jury that Fenderson was originally charged with
gun possession, along with Combs and Jones, but the district attorney's office dropped the
charges after Fenderson agreed to testify in the case.
They also brought up the fact that, by his own account, Fenderson committed the crimes of
accepting a bribe and making a false statement when he initially accepted blame for the
gun. He has never been charged with those crimes. Fenderson, 42, who worked for Combs only
on weekends, was fired from his full-time job as a driver for an investment banker shortly
after the Club New York incident. The banker fired him, Fenderson said, because he no
longer felt safe with the driver, believing that he might face retaliation from Combs.
Fenderson is the fourth prosecution witness to place a gun in Combs' hand, although one of
the four, Tarnisha Smith, said that she was no longer sure that the black object she saw
was in fact a gun. Fenderson is the first witness to directly link Jones with a gun.
Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos said that he expects to rest his case on Wednesday, after days
off on Monday and Tuesday. Defense lawyers said they will begin presenting their case on
(Click HERE for a complete explanation of the charges in the case)