Puff Daddy Pleads Not Guilty To Bribery Charge

Sean "Puffy" Combs was once again in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday, and once again he professed his innocence in relation to a nightclub shooting last December.

Combs was in court to plead not guilty to charges that he attempted to bribe a professional driver into taken responsibility for a 9 mm handgun found in a vehicle Puffy was riding in following a shooting at Club New York last year.

Prosecutors brought the charges against Combs while the rapper was in Los Angeles for last week's Grammy Awards and contend that Combs offered $50,000 and a diamond ring to the driver to claim ownership of the gun (see "Puffy Combs Denies Bribery Charge").

While entering the plea, Combs and his legal team saw the court strike down a motion by prosecutors to raise the rapper's bail from $10,000 (assessed in connection with a weapons charge relating to the incident) to $150,000. However, the court did place an additional $20,000

bail on Combs in connection with the new bribery charge.

"We are very pleased with the court's decision to deny the District Attorney's request to increase bail," Combs' lawyer Benjamin Brafman said of the development. "We believe the court views Mr. Combs as a responsible citizen who has appeared at all hearings. The court's decision was appropriate."

For his part, Puffy offered a statement almost identical to the one he issued last week when the bribery charges first became official. "I am outraged by the new bribery charge," Combs said. "As I have said before, this charge is completely baseless. I did not bribe anyone at anytime anywhere. I look forward to my day in court and being completely exonerated on all the charges."

The day will come on May 16, when Puffy is next due in court.