PEOPLE

Alleged adversary is witness in Puffy trial

The surprise witness in the case against rap mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs isn’t his ex. Matthew “Scar” Allen, 29, is the man with whom Combs allegedly had the dispute that sparked gunfire in Club New York in the early morning hours of Dec. 27, 1999. He’s considered a valuable prosecution witness because he was standing close to Combs in the club.

Allen agreed to testify, then disappeared for six weeks until he was tracked down in Maryland early Wednesday. Prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos said Allen who is on probation and has charges pending against him in two other criminal matters could be brought to New York as early as today if he waives a hearing on his extradition, a week if he fights it.

Bogdanos, who rested his case early Wednesday afternoon, asked for permission to call Allen to testify after the defense begins putting on its case. Combs’ lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has objected; Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon will consider his request to allow Allen only as a witness rebutting evidence in the defense case.

Combs, his bodyguard Anthony “Wolf” Jones and rapper Jamal “Shyne” Barrow are on trial in connection with the shooting that left at least three people wounded. Combs and his bodyguard are charged with two counts of gun possession. Barrow is charged with attempted murder. Combs also is charged with bribery for allegedly offering his driver $50,000 to take the gun rap for him.

WE PREFER THE TERM “NEWS MONKEYS”: Gov. Jesse “The Body” Ventura wants to make an affectionate nickname for the 35 Capitol reporters stick, although the journalists themselves aren’t too keen about wearing the new labels, which say “Official Jackal.”

“We’re having a little fun with things like we always do,” Ventura spokesman David Ruth said about the credentials, which were issued Tuesday.

“It’s insulting, but I’ve been called worse,” said Bill Salisbury, a Capitol reporter and columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. The paper, though, returned the credentials and senior editor Kate Parry had reporters include a letter describing the design as “unprofessional.” David Pyle, The Associated Press bureau chief of Minnesota, said AP’s Capitol reporters will not wear the credentials. “While this may have been intended as a joke, we take this matter seriously and will not subject AP staffers to wearing something that may be intended to demean them and their profession,” Pyle said.

The term isn’t unfamiliar to the press corps. After Ventura derided reporters as media jackals in his most recent book, they responded by wearing black T-shirts with a “media jackals” logo.

PH.D.: PORNO HONORARY DEGREE?: Forget what they’re doing in the ivory tower what’s behind the green door? It may not be Marilyn Chambers, but similarly lusty extracurricular activities might be happening with an underground group of Yale students who promise to deliver an X-rated movie.

Apparently a hoary tradition of (mostly) male seniors drinking beer, eating fried chicken and critiquing flesh flicks mutated into a Quentin Tarantino mindset. The secret production, called “The StaXXX,” has aroused a media as diverse as Danish National Radio, London’s Evening Standard and The New Yorker. They’ve run stories with headlines like “Yale’s Students Prove They Have Naked Ambition,” and “Yale’s New Grades: A, B, C, D and X.” Then there are the offers from Hollywood, Hustler magazine, and the Internet porn industry for everything from book rights on the making of the movie to distribution deals.

“It has really taken off beyond what any one of us expected,” said “Baby Gristle,” the nickname of a senior and “creative director.” Like everyone connected with the film, he wants his identity kept secret and won’t show proof that the movie exists.

Talk about liberal arts: The Ivy League administration remains hands off, but could crack down should it stumble upon any inflagrante delicto filming, especially on campus property like the library stacks. “This is a private university after all,” said Yale spokesman Tom Violante. “We don’t keep track of what students are thinking about or doing in their dorm rooms. But we always like to know whenever anyone is filming on campus.”

The student filmmakers insist there will be a private showing in April on campus, but no one else will see the film and it won’t be sold. The only offer they’re considering is a book deal about how the movie was made logistically awkward, though, considering everyone involved is supposed to be anonymous.

IS THIS AN IHOP SPECIAL?: A parody of “The Last Supper” is upsetting more than Chicagoans’ appetites. More than 100 callers have complained about “The Last Pancake Breakfast,” which went on display Friday at the Chicago Athenaeum. Subbing in for the disciples are Toucan Sam, Cap’n Crunch and other breakfast figures, while Mrs. Butterworth the syrup lady takes the place usually inhabited by Jesus Christ.

Critics say the work is blasphemous, while museum officials like the outcry. “Anytime you can create a discourse that gives people something stimulating to talk about, it’s a good thing,” Julie Reichert-Marton, director of administration for the museum, said Tuesday. She acknowledged that the pancake painting, by Chicago artist Dick Detzner, almost got moved out of the main exhibit, but won a reprieve. Most of the complaints came before the exhibit’s opening, when a suburban newspaper ran a photo of the painting. Detzner said he never received any complaints when he exhibited the work in Lakeview and Lincoln Park. The painting is part of his 13-work collection “Corporate Sacrilege,” which also includes Jesus on a Wheaties box, Mickey and Minnie Mouse in the Garden of Eden, and the Pillsbury Doughboy on a crucifix, being poked in the belly by the hand of God.

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail spin@cctimes.com.

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