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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 08:46 GMT
Rapper Rhymes escapes jail term
Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes said he was grateful to the judge as he left court
US rap star Busta Rhymes has been handed three years' probation by a New York court after pleading guilty to charges of assault and drink driving.

The 35-year-old was also given community service and a fine for the four incidents, including attacking a fan who allegedly spat on his car.

Rhymes - real name Trevor Smith - was also ordered to stay away from his former driver, who he also assaulted.

He will also have to take part in an alcohol education programme.

The rapper's driving licence was also suspended for six months at Manhattan's Criminal Court.

Pay dispute

After the hearing, the performer said that he was "grateful" to the judge, adding: "I believe in the system."

He was arrested most recently in May on a drink-driving charge, allegedly admitting to police that he had drunk a single shot of cognac about an hour earlier.

At that time, he had been scheduled to go to trial on two charges of assault, after being accused of beating and kicking his former driver during a pay dispute, and attacking the fan at a music festival.

While those charges were pending in February, he was jailed briefly after police said they stopped him for going through a red light and discovered he was driving with a suspended licence.

The hip-hop artist's hits include Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See, Gimme Some More and Woo-Hah! Got You All In Check.

He has also appeared in films including 2000's Shaft and Finding Forrester.

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