Jury selection began Monday in a court case against Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, whose former chauffeur contends the rap mogul and a bodyguard forced him to speed away from the scene of a 1999 nightclub shooting.
State Supreme Court Justice Harold Beeler issued a gag order, telling the lawyers not to discuss the case with reporters.
Wardel Fenderson, 45, “was afraid that if he stopped (the car), he was going to be hurt by somebody in the car, and if he didn’t, he was going to be hurt by the police,” his attorney, Lawrence Bernstein, told the Daily News for Monday’s editions.
Fenderson is suing for $3 million; he’s also filed claims against Combs’ company, Bad Boy Entertainment, and Combs’ bodyguard, Anthony Jones, who died in a November shooting in Atlanta.
Combs and former girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, who was present at the Dec. 27, 1999, shooting inside Club New York, have been subpoenaed to testify.
A spokeswoman for Combs said the lawsuit was an attempt to cash in on Combs’ celebrity, the News reported.
Combs was acquitted in March 2001 of gun possession and bribery charges from the shooting, in which three people were injured. Rapper Jamaal “Shyne” Barrow was convicted of assault, reckless endangerment and weapons charges in the case.