NEW YORK Natania Reuben, who was shot in the face during a fracas at Manhattan's Club New York in December 1999, will testify that she saw Sean "Puffy" Combs brandish a gun at the club, according to her lawyer, Debra Reiser.
Reuben, a 30-year-old former hairstylist from Brooklyn, is expected to be among the lead witnesses in the trial of Combs, fellow rapper Jamal "Shyne" Barrow and bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones. Jury selection is scheduled to begin January 17.
"It's reprehensible that [Combs] can ... talk about his innocence and plead for compassion," Reuben said in Saturday's New York Daily News. "Where was the compassion on the night I was shot? Puffy had a gun. Shyne had a gun. And my life is now changed forever."
Barrow is alleged to have shot Reuben and two others, while Combs is charged with possessing two guns: one that he allegedly brandished in the club and another that was found in the Lincoln Navigator he left the club in. He also faces bribery charges for allegedly trying to persuade driver Wardel Fenderson to say the gun in the car was his.
Combs has repeatedly denied having a gun on the night of December 27, 1999. "All the allegations against me are completely false," he told MTV News recently.
A spokesperson for Combs declined to comment on Reuben's charges.
In court papers, prosecutors claim to have extensive evidence that Combs possessed a gun.
"When defendants Combs and Jones became involved in an argument in which they believed a third party was disrespecting them, all three defendants engaged in retaliatory conduct," prosecutors wrote. "Within feet and milliseconds of each other, both Combs and Barrow pulled out
In a December 28 letter to Bogdanos, Combs lawyer Benjamin Brafman said numerous witnesses including Combs' girlfriend, singer/actress Jennifer Lopez have maintained that they never saw Combs with a gun that night.
Prosecutors said in an earlier letter to Combs' lawyers, however, that they were unaware of any witnesses whose testimony exonerates Combs.