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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 October 2004, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Rapper Beanie Sigel sent to jail
Beanie Sigel
Beanie Sigel was shown leniency by the judge
Rapper Beanie Sigel has been sentenced to a year in jail for illegal possession of a gun.

The 30-year-old could have received more than three years, but a judge in Philadelphia took into account his charity work and drug treatment.

The charges stemmed from an incident in 2002 when Sigel fled from police who had stopped his car. The court heard he threw away a loaded gun in the chase.

As a result of his criminal record, it is illegal for him to own a handgun.

Officers also found prescription drugs and marijuana in Sigel's car.

He pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this year, and must also serve two years probation and pay a $25,000 fine.

Sigel - whose real name is Dwight Grant - acknowledged in court that he was in a "reckless, dangerous situation" at the time, but told the judge he was a changed man.

"I'm not the guy that people think I am," he said.

'Positive message'

Gesturing to his children, who were in the court, 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."

Rap superstar Jay-Z was among supporters in court, as family members and colleagues told the judge that Sigel had a "positive message" and was a good role model.

But prosecutor Curtis Douglas quoted lyrics from Sigel's next album, in which he fantasises about taking vengeance on his enemies by pouring acid on their children and raping their girlfriends.

"The very idea that this defendant is here as a role model is somewhat repulsive," Mr Douglas said.

But handing down a year's sentence, federal judge R Barclay Surrick said: "It is clear that the defendant has made a substantial effort to change his life."

Sigel also faces trial in January on charges that he shot and seriously wounded a man outside a Philadelphia bar, and also faces charges that he punched a man in the face.

Rapper Beanie Sigel denied bail
16 Jul 03 |  Entertainment

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