Busta Rhymes Gets 5 Years Probation

A Manhattan, N.Y., Supreme Court judge sentenced Busta Rhymes to five years probation, a sentence previously agreed upon last July, when the 27-year-old rap star pleaded guilty to a gun-possession charge.

Police arrested the rapper in December 1998 after stopping his car and finding a loaded, unregistered .45-caliber pistol in his 1995 Mercedes-Benz.

Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor Smith, could have received up to seven years in prison if he had been tried and convicted on the weapons charge.

In July, the New York Daily News reported that Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Herbert Adlerberg cited “very strong mitigating factors” in the sentence, after Rhymes explained that he carried the gun because he had been robbed twice.

Why the delay in sentencing? At the time of his originally scheduled sentencing in September 1999, Rhymes was under investigation for allegedly violating a protective order to stay away from his ex-girlfriend Joanne Wood of Hempstead, Long Island, N.Y.

Wood, who is the mother of Rhymes’ 7-year-old son, T’ziah, had the rapper arrested, accusing him of failing to pay child support. Rhymes denied the charges.

Judge Alderberg deferred imposing the sentence for a year, and ordered Rhymes to report to his court every two months until the family drama had been resolved.

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