A recorded telephone conversation regarding the assault trial involving a member of rapper SEAN 'DIDDY' COMBS' entourage should have been allowed as evidence, but the Michigan Court Of Appeals ruled the error has not affected the case.

The court ruled unanimously last Friday (26AUG05) in favour of Combs' record label Bad Boy Entertainment and bodyguard RON GILYARD.

TV host Roger Mills filed suit against the hip-hop mogul, Gilyard, his label and Detroit radio station WCHB-FM in 2001, after he claimed he was attacked after an interview with the hip-hop mogul in 1999.

Mills alleged Combs terminated the interview early when he was quizzed over his alleged involvement in the 1997 murder of Notorious BIG.

The presenter complained members of Combs' entourage assaulted him, broke a camera and snatched the tape of the interview.

A jury ruled no assault and battery occurred in 2004, but Mills appealed.

The appellate court since found a recorded telephone conversation between Gilyard and Mills - during which Gilyard said Combs ordered him to "get the tape" - should have been used as evidence.

However, the court concluded the omission of the taped discussion was harmless, as it didn't show Combs authorising an assault.