Sway: In the closing argument, your attorney Benjamin Brafman suggested that the witnesses that testified against you might have been part of a conspiracy and that they actually got together to fabricate this whole story about you. Do you believe that to be true?
Combs: I mean, he has his beliefs. I think there were separate conspiracies, but on one common goal: to get some paper. But I just have an announcement to everybody I don't have as much paper as you all are reading out there. I don't have like hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank and all that, so a lot of y'all are really wasting your time. But a lot of people have big dreams; a lot of people want to get rich and not work for it; and a lot of people also, at the same time, when they see an opportunity they try to grasp at it. It's like part of the American way, you know. If you trip on the sidewalk, you're supposed to lay down and hold your neck and say "I can't move" and yell "Ambulance." But I don't work too hard to let somebody come and lie, take my life away from me. It's like four different minds had four different plans with one common goal, and that was to get paid.Sway: What is the status of the civil lawsuits at this point?
Combs: I don't know the exact status, but we're going to fight them. There's some new facts that I'm not guilty, so I don't know what substance those lawsuits have, but I'm sure people are going to try to get their hustle on regardless.
Sway: Are you worried about it at all?
Combs: Me fighting battles. That's been one of the problems. I'm used to it, and I don't want to fight anymore, so I'll let someone else deal with that. I think they'd be real disappointed to realize I don't really have a billion dollars. I just want everyone to know that, so don't fall and trip in front of me, man. [RealVideo]
Sway: Let's talk about Shyne. Shyne, in effect, lived up to [his] lyrics ... by shooting a gun that night, and he is a Bad Boy artist. Do you feel that Bad Boy should have to accept responsibility for their artists?
Combs: [It's] impossible to control somebody's head, somebody's actions. The Bad Boy artists, many men and women, know that they have to be responsible for their actions. I have to be responsible for my actions. But defending Shyne, you know there are people at the club that said they saw somebody else with a gun. You know his defense was that he felt that his life was in danger and he was defending himself. I just know that he didn't mean to hurt nobody, because the proof shows it. His gun was fired in the air and he did not mean to hurt nobody. Hopefully through appeals it was a mistake that was made, and hopefully the judge will be lenient on him and everybody will learn from the mistake. I know he is sorry just like I am sorry that anybody got hurt, but Bad Boy Entertainment did not shoot anybody. I didn't shoot anybody.
Sway: Did it upset you when you found out that he actually fired a weapon?
Combs: I didn't know. ... I didn't want to address the judgment. Like everybody else, I didn't know all the facts because I didn't see it myself. I didn't know all the facts I had just heard it. When speaking to him, I understand with the circumstances that [went] down, but I never got into all the exact facts. I understand that things happen and I know that he is not the type of person that [would want] to hurt [anybody]. He is young and talented. He is definitely somebody [whose] life shouldn't be wasted. That is not going to make life any better, being in jail a long time, so we are just praying. Bad Boy, we are going to help support his appeal and everything.
Sway: There was an interview published in a New York City newspaper [Village Voice] I am sure you are aware of it. Shyne, in that interview, he claimed that the relationship was strained, where he thought you tried to distance yourself from him, and he felt that he was abandoned and that there was a possibility that his album would not be released.
Combs: Well, his album was released, and I don't abandon anybody, but to be honest with you, going through that time and that time period, going through a lot personally with the courts, I wouldn't abandon nobody. I would be lying if I said I was just talking to everybody. I was really [keeping] to myself during that time, and there were times that I was upset sitting at that table. I didn't blame him or nothing like that I was not mad at him but I was just ... really, it was a serious situation, and I was just looking at it from everybody's point of view.
Sway: Are you communicating with him?
Combs: I've talked to his lawyer, and I am going to see him in a week or so, because I have been talking to him through his lawyer. I speak to his lawyer like once a day; I don't speak to [Shyne]. I just got back into town, so I may speak to him this week on the phone. I am going out of town, but I will come back and see him.
Sway: Will Bad Boy be making any changes in the type of acts they sign?
Combs: Bad Boy will be versatile acts, but to be honest, I've got to not think about that for a while. To be totally real, I have to take a leave of absence for a couple of months, half a year, whatever it is, just to walk around, enjoy life, just be out of the public eye for a minute, just for a couple of months whatever just to take a little break. So I don't have the answers to that, 'cause I am not really thinking about making no records and making no money, I am not really into that right now. I am more thinking about getting myself right as a person, because if I am right, then everything that I produce and create is going to be even that much more better. This whole Puff Daddy thing has taken a toll on me.
Sway: I heard that you are going to get rid of the name?
Combs: Oh yeah. When I come back, I am definitely changing the name. No more Puff Daddy. I am not doing it as serious as Prince I'm not gonna be just crazy with it but I mean, we didn't beat the Puffy, Puff Daddy name up enough, so probably, like, the first week in June, we are going to have a name change ceremony. Clinton is probably going to change my name Bill Clinton. I like his style; he's a survivor. They went at him; he's still standing. Probably have Elton John, he's still standing. They get it really, really spicy. It is going to be changed to straight P. Diddy. You could call me P. or Diddy, or P. Diddy.
Sway: Why are you doing that?
Combs: I just want something fresh, man. [If you see] "Puffy" in the paper, it has a lot of baggage with it. I just need a fresh start. It has a lot of different things, a lot of controversial issues with it. I just need a fresh start. Will you call me P., or will you call me P. Diddy?