Federal weapons charges, with their accompanying harsh sentences, are enough to take down anyone.
Yet since his guilty plea a year ago, Atlanta rapper T.I. has enjoyed the greatest success of his career.
But one of the world’s best-known rap artists is due to take a one-year hiatus at a federal detention facility.
According to the plea agreement, T.I., whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., will be sentenced Friday to one year and a day.
The extra day means T.I. can carve 15 percent off of his sentence with good behavior. Under U.S. Bureau of Prison rules, inmates can earn such credit only if they are sentenced to longer than a year in prison. T.I. should serve an estimated 298 days — or a little less than 10 months. He is expected to get credit for the two weeks he sat in jail after his arrest and before posting a $3 million bond.
T.I.’s troubles began Oct. 13, 2007, just hours before he was to receive two awards at the BET Hip-Hop Awards ceremony in Atlanta. He was arrested in a Midtown parking lot by federal agents for trying to buy machine guns and silencers. T.I. pleaded guilty to illegal firearms possession and being a convicted felon with a firearm.
Federal sentencing guidelines recommended T.I. serve at least four years and nine months behind bars.
But T.I.’s defense team worked out an unheard of deal with federal prosecutors: If T.I. would perform at least 1,000 hours of community service, telling kids about the pitfalls of crime, drugs and gangs and encouraging them to respect the law, he could surrender to the Bureau of Prisons a year later and get a reduced sentence.
Area criminal defense lawyers howled in protest, saying T.I. traded his celebrity for leniency. Federal prosecutors countered the rapper’s influential message would help prevent crime.
T.I. has fulfilled his part of the bargain, said Steve Sadow, one of the rapper’s lawyers.
“T.I. took this opportunity and ran with it beyond anyone’s expectations.”
A sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday by T.I.’s defense team says the rapper has complied with all the requirements of his plea agreement. This includes serving 300 days of home confinement, attending more than 260 events and earning 1,006 hours of community service credit.
T.I. has been to 25 states and spoken to tens of thousands of teens and adults.
Skipping History to Make Some
University of West Georgia theater major Hope Mullinax had a good excuse for blowing off UWG instructor Amy Cuomo’s Theater History class on Thursday. The 21-year-old Buford student was busy preparing for President Barack Obama’s online town hall meeting.
Mullinax had posted some pointed questions on Youtube about rising tuition and textbook prices, while college budgets and her on-campus job’s hours are being slashed. The politically active student also appeared on “Good Morning America” Thursday to give a preview of her questions.
“We’re supposed to be the next generation to lead this country and yet we’re seeing budgets being cut and textbook prices through the roof,” Mullinax told us. “How are we supposed to lead if we can’t stay in school?”
Mullinax said she was impressed with the high tech town hall format Obama selected. “He cut out all the middlemen and came straight to us. He’s the first president in history to really embrace and use all the new technology available.”
Alas, Mullinax’s questions weren’t used. But another set of college students seeking the same answers were included in the meeting. “I was satisfied with his answers,” she said. “Education remains a priority with him. At least he knows about our concerns now. I’m encouraged.”
For months, Tiffany & Co shoppers and the city’s charitable fundraisers have been mourning the looming loss of the blue box retailer’s regional vice president Tom Carroll from Atlanta.
So, no one but the much-loved Carroll and his wife Carolyn was surprised by the surprise going away party thrown in his honor Wednesday night at Lola in Buckhead.
Former Atlanta mayor and current Buckhead Coalition president Sam Massell even turned up to make Carroll an honorary mayor of Buckhead.
Among the emotional guests saluting the Carrolls:
Ideation guru Joey Reiman, who raised a glass to Carroll’s new venture in San Francisco (where he will preside over Tiffany’s west coast region, including Hawaii and Guam). A Legendary Event owner Tony Conway, fund-raisers Allan and Aida Flamm, Chapter 11 Books founder Barbara Kaufman and pregnant daughter Jennifer Babbit Bodner, Spanx’s Misty Elliott and Buckhead Business Alliance executive director Sharon Silva.
Carroll was also presented with a framed party invitation signed by each guest, and each attendee left with a Tiffany & Co. coffee table book.
Keyboardist Tony Banks of Genesis is 59. Saxophonist Dave Koz is 46. Director Quentin Tarantino is 46. Singer Mariah Carey is 39. Actress Elizabeth Mitchell (”Lost”) is 39. Singer Fergie of Black Eyed Peas is 34.
Contributing: Bill Rankin and news services.
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