Rap mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs testified in a New York courtroom Monday that
he was not responsible for the deaths of nine people trampled at a charity
event he promoted long before he hit it big as a superstar producer and rapper.
Combs gave his testimony as a witness in a lawsuit filed against New York
state and the City College of New York by the family of one of the stampede
victims and by seven of the 29 people injured in the 1991 crush.
"City College is something I deal with every day of my life," Combs told
reporters outside Manhattan's Court of Claims. "But the things that I deal
with can in no way measure up to the pain that the families deal with. I
just pray for the families and pray for the children who lost their lives
In 1991, Combs -- a Grammy winner and founder of the hugely successful Bad
Boy Entertainment record label, whose roster includes Mase and the late
Notorious B.I.G. -- was working as a promoter with rapper Heavy D. The
event that spawned the stampede was a charity basketball game held Dec. 28
at Nat Holman Gymnasium.
Combs testified that even though it was his understanding that the college
was responsible for event security, he hired an additional 20 workers to
keep the crowd under control.
After those waiting to enter the event became restless, the crowd surged
toward the gym, at which point the victims were trampled.
Nine other civil suits related to the event are pending, according to the
New York Times. In some of those cases, Combs is listed as a defendant.