By Ivan Pereira
Ja Rule will now be singing the jailhouse blues for the next couple of months after he was sentenced last week for illegally possessing a gun.
The St. Albans-born hip-hop star was nonchalant when a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ordered him to be imprisoned for two years June 8. The 35-year-old artist, whose real name is Jeff Atkins, showed off his celebrity attitude on his way into the court.
“See you in 18 [months],” he told fans and reporters outside the court.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, however, was not amused with the actions that landed him behind bars.
On July 22, 2007, Atkins was traveling in a vehicle with two friends on the Upper West Side when the car was stopped on West End Avenue by the police for speeding, prosecutors said. The officers found a loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic with its serial number scratched off in the back seat, where Atkins was sitting, according to investigators.
The weapon was not registered, prosecutors said.
“Carrying an illegal gun in New York City puts the safety of all New Yorkers at risk,” Vance said in a statement. “Whether you are a Grammy-nominated musician or a teenager carrying a gun for a friend, justice is blind.”
Atkins eventually pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon in December. In an interview with MTV after his plea, the rapper expressed regret for his actions because it would keep him away from his family.
“My daughter, she’s 15 right now,” he said. “These are her last couple of years. She’s about to graduate from high school, and she’s going to college. She needs her father. My boys really need me right now, too, as well as my wife.”
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.