ATLANTA (Reuters) - Grammy-winning rapper T.I. was sentenced to a year and a day in prison on Friday for illegally possessing machine guns and silencers, as prosecutors lauded his anti-violence advocacy since his arrest.
T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris, originally faced up to 20 years in prison and the effective end of his career but performing community service as part of his plea agreement with prosecutors reduced his sentence.
T.I., 28, who was sentenced at a federal court in Atlanta, toured the United States in recent months speaking to tens of thousands of young people about the dangers of drugs and gangs, as he completed more than 1,000 hours of community service.
His anti-crime advocacy has been chronicled on cable channel MTV’s reality show “T.I.’s Road to Redemption.” He posted $3 million bail after his arrest.
The Atlanta-born rapper, whose hit songs include “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life,” could have his one year and one day sentence further reduced by 15 percent with good behavior.
David Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a statement T.I.’s community service exceeded prosecutors’ expectations and that “there is still more to come when he gets out of prison.”
U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell agreed to ask prison officials to have T.I. surrender in the coming weeks but not before May 19.
The rapper, who has a 1998 crack cocaine conviction that made it illegal for him to own guns, pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing machine guns and silencers and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
The charges stemmed from T.I.’s October 13, 2007, arrest by federal agents after the rapper had a bodyguard buy machine guns and silencers for him, prosecutors said.
T.I., who won two Grammy Awards in 2006 for best rap solo performance and best rap/sung collaboration, in October released his third consecutive No. 1 album, “Paper Trail.”
The father of six also starred alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in the 2007 movie “American Gangster.”
Reporting by Karen Jacobs and Alex Dobuzinskis: Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and John O’Callaghan
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