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"As soon as we were indicted, he wanted to keep me away from him. He didn't even want to put my album out."
——Jamal (or is it Jamaal?) "Shyne" Barrow

SHYNE FEELS BETRAYED

Jailed Former Puff Protege To Face
Sentencing On April 16
Two men who go through battle together normally are drawn closer by the experience. That is, of course, unless one is acquitted and the other found guilty.

Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow, whose fate for the last 15 months has been intricately linked with that of mentor Sean "Puffy" Combs, has made it public that he feels as if Puff betrayed him. Barrow let it all out for a recent story in New York's Village Voice.

"As soon as we were indicted, he wanted to keep me away from him. He didn't even want to put my album out," Barrow said. "Throughout the trial, it's like, ‘You get out of this however you can and I'm gonna get outta this however I can.' It [was] never, ‘This is the young man that used to live with me, be with me all the time, under my guidance. This is the young man who was with me that night, and we are all going to get out of this together.'"

The 21-year-old rapper had been charged with attempted murder, but was convicted May 16 on two counts of assault, two weapons charges and reckless endangerment for the shooting—which left three wounded—inside the Club New York on Dec. 27, 1999. While Combs walked away a free man, Barrow was jailed pending his April 16 sentencing. He could face the maximum of 25 years in prison

Barrow disputed the testimony of Club New York security guard Cherise Myers, a key defense witness who claimed that she fell on top of Combs during a mad dash to the exit after the first shots were fired and never saw him with a gun.

"You don't have to prove that I did it in order to prove that you didn't do it," Barrow told the Voice. "She lied for him. Fine. But don't let her testify against me. That's when I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't believe it. That was it," the rapper added. "There was no way I could continue. I couldn't even look at him anymore."

Responding to Barrow's claims on SonicNet.com, Combs' lawyer Benjamin Brafman countered, "None of the defense witnesses lied in any way about anything."

Barrow also denied that Puffy helped foot the bills for his legal defense—a statement Puff bodyguard Anthony "Wolf" Jones, who stood on trial alongside the two men, refutes.

"Throughout the case Puff was supportive of both of us and generously helped us with our legal bills," Jones said in a statement released by Combs' publicist and quoted by SonicNet.com. "I'm upset for Shyne, but it's crazy to think that Puff could be responsible for anyone else's actions."

Combs took Barrow under his wing when the young rapper was only 18. As a result, Barrow looked up to him and never believed Puffy would let harm come to him. "I never really wanted to admit this," Barrow told the Voice. "I could understand if I was just another guy, but I am somebody that you groomed, somebody that you showed the ropes [to], and to just leave me hanging there, nobody speaking up for me, nobody trying to spin it my way, nobody trying to show that there [were] other guns fired [inside the club], nobody trying to show that shots were in the ceiling, nobody trying to show that this was clearly self-defense. Everyone's trying to make the two shots that was supposed to be fired from the gun that I had [the act of] this desperado at the O.K. Corral."

In a statement released Wednesday, Puffy said, "I am deeply saddened about Shyne's conviction. I believe that Shyne had no intention of hurting anyone. My own victory is bittersweet because of what happened to Shyne and the victims."

But none of that answers the real burning question: Is Barrow's first name spelled with two A's ("Jamal" in the SonicNet story) or three ("Jamaal" in the Voice)?

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