Rapper Beanie Sigel was sentenced to a year in federal prison in Philadelphia on Friday, on a gun-possession charge stemming from a traffic stop. Sigel, 30, could have received more than three years,
Rapper Beanie Sigel was sentenced to a year in federal prison in Philadelphia on Friday, on a gun-possession charge stemming from a traffic stop. Sigel, 30, could have received more than three years, but the judge cited the rapper's charity work and drug abuse treatment in taking leniency.
"It is clear that the defendant has made a substantial effort to change his life," said U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick. Prosecutors had argued that Sigel was much like the man he presents himself as in his gritty lyrics: a ruthless, dangerous gangster.
The charges stemmed from a 2002 incident in which Sigel jumped from his car and ran after a traffic stop. But the heavyset rapper did not get far, and allegedly tossed away a loaded gun during the short chase. Officers also found prescription drugs and marijuana in Sigel's Cadillac Escalade.
Sigel's rap sheet dates to when he was a teenager and makes it illegal for him to own a handgun.
Pleading for leniency before a courtroom of supporters that included rap superstar Jay-Z, Sigel acknowledged that he was in a "reckless situation, a dangerous situation" at the time of the incident, but told the judge he was a changed man.
"I'm not the guy that people think I am," he said. Motioning to his children, he said, "I want them to be able to lift their heads up and say, 'That's my dad. That's Dwight Grant. Not Beanie Sigel."
Family members and business colleagues told the judge that the rapper has a "positive message" and is a good role model for kids.
That suggestion irritated prosecutor Curtis Douglas, who quoted lyrics from a song on Sigel's soon-to-be released album, in which the rapper fantasizes about taking vengeance against his enemies by pouring acid on their children and raping their pregnant girlfriends.
"The very idea that this defendant is here as a role model is somewhat repulsive," Douglas said.
The rapper also faces trial in January on charges that he shot and seriously wounded a man outside a Philadelphia bar, as well as charges that he punched a man in the face.
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