Lil' Kim Gets 1 Year in Prison for Perjury
The pint-sized diva, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, was convicted four months ago of lying to a federal grand jury to protect friends involved in a 2001 gun battle outside a radio station in Manhattan. One man was hurt in the gun play between Kim's entourage and the rival rap group, Capone-N-Noreaga.
In a statement released after her sentencing, Kim thanked her fans and friends for their support during her "ordeal." "Today was a very difficult day for me, but I am no stranger to adversity and will do whatever I need to do so that I can continue to work hard and give back to my family, amazing fans and community."
In court on Wednesday the tearful rapper, who turns 30 next week, apologized for her actions. "This is by far the toughest thing I've ever had to go through," she said. "I testified falsely in front of a grand jury and thought it was the right thing to do. Now I realize it was wrong."
While many rappers have served time in prison, Kim is the first big-name female to do so. She is scheduled to start serving her sentence on Sept. 19.
The maximum sentence for the counts she faced was 20 years in prison: five years each on three counts of perjury and one count of conspiracy.
Judge Gerard Lynch said he was glad Kim was genuinely sorry and said of the relative leniency of the sentence: "Sending a tough message is not always the right message."
The rap diva had told the grand jury that she did not notice two of her friends at the scene of the shootout: her manager, Damion Butler, and Suif Jackson, known as "Gutta." However, during the trial, jurors were shown security photos from radio station WQHT-FM (known as Hot 97), depicting Butler opening a door for Kim. Two witnesses also testified that they saw her at the station with Butler and Jackson.
During her turn on the witness stand, Lil' Kim said she had a falling out after the shooting with Butler and with Antoine "Banger" Spain and James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd, the two witnesses who said they saw her with Butler and Jackson.
She also said in her testimony that the men were freeloading at her New Jersey townhouse. "I was just fed up," she told jurors. "They were taking advantage of me."