T.I.'s prison sentence: Did he get a cushy deal?

Ti_lOne thing is now certain: T.I. is going to prison. A federal judge today approved a negotiated plea for one year plus a day in federal prison for trying to buy machine guns and ammo from undercover agents in 2007. As part of the deal, the rapper was also sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service, a $100,000 fine, and one year of home confinement (much of which he has already served). T.I. could reduce his time behind bars to about 10 months with good behavior. He is scheduled to voluntarily report to prison some time afterMay 19.

But is he getting off too easy? Given that federal sentencing guidelines recommend that a person who pleads guilty to these charges should serve four years and nine months in prison, some Atlanta defense attorneys have suggested that the megastar was able to use his celebrity to reduce the punishment. "This has been an unusual plea from the very beginning," says Page Pate, a criminal defense attorney with the Atlanta firm Pate & Brody and former chairman of the Criminal Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association. "But they [apparently] felt he was in the unique position because of the things he could dowith his celebrity that other people couldn’t do. Is it right or wrong? I won’tget into that. But is it fair? No. Joe Smith isn’t going to get this deal."

But David E. Nahmias, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, who approved the deal, tells EW he believes the good that will come out of T.I.’s assigned community service — 1,030 hours of which he has already served — is more important than time tacked onto his sentence. Over the past year, T.I. has made 262 appearances speaking to thousands of kids about crime, drugs, and gangs (his MTV reality show did not count towards his community service requirement, though Nahmias says his office viewed it as "a good thing"), and he has another 470 hours of service to go once he is released. Nahmias says though there is no way to measure the impact those appearances might have on preventing crime, T.I. has shown he has the ability to reach a demographic that isn’t always willing to listen to adults telling them what’s right and wrong. "We didn’t do this to benefit him," Nahmias says. "He’s the defendant. If it winds up making him a better person, that’s a nice side effect. But we did this to benefit [the community]. He’s in the unique position as a celebrity with the communication skills and the life story that is powerful when he talks to kids."

So what do you think? Is it worth granting a convicted celebrity like T.I. some leniency if it can wind up benefiting the greater good? Or should he do the same time as anyone else?

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Comments (175 total) Add your comment
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  • Bernie Madoff Stewart

    As your attorney I advise you to drive extremely fast and we’ll sort out the details later.
    Word up T!

  • tom

    T.I. the man

  • Solomon

    Yeah, celebrities (especially convicts getting off the hook) are great role models – no school, no education (other than street), half-literate but rich and famous, and with a significant advantage when it comes to criminal justice system. How do you really explain all this to your kids?

  • Rob

    Wow a celebrity gets a cushy deal an ordinary person wouldn’t get..*Yawn*..what a surprise….zzzzzzzzzzZZZzzzz

  • Ron Mexico

    It is truly a shame when today’s youth propel illiterate, nescient, aphonic, thugs like “T.I.” to the upper rungs of supposed patrician class and make them millionaires in the process, but for a US Attorney to cut a discernible, insufficient deal due to the criminal’s celebrity is inexcusable. The dumbing of America continues unabated.

    • neptuneGOK

      wow, truly idiotic comment.. when u use those words in a slightly incorrect context, u end up looking far less intelligent than u otherwise would…unless you are a clueless college freshmen, in which case its cool

  • Dave

    I don’t think prison is the right place for this person. Now he is a tax burden on the people, instead of working and paying tax. Now I realize this isn’t totally accurate, because he will make money, while in the joint with royalties and such.
    He didn’t kill or hurt anyone, he said he was obtaining the weapons for self-defense. I think he is guilty of being an idiot, I think a shotgun or legal rifle would have been a better choice than machine guns. But I don’t believe he is threat to the general public, therefor something less than prison to punish him would’ve been more appropriate.
    I’m not a fan, I just think the federal government over regulates firearms, we have a bill of rights that the federal gov’t regularly stomps on and it makes me sick. If I want an automatic weapon I should be able to have one, until a crime is committed it should be nobody’s concern.
    I’m sure many of you will disagree with me, but I really don’t care, I’ll still fight for yours(our) rights.

  • Tim

    Yes he got off easy. Obviously. He should spend an equal amount of time locked up for subjecting the world to MORE Justin Bloody Timberlake…yeech.

  • Jake

    The efficacy of America’s justice system continues to degrade thanks in no small measure to judges and lawyers alike. Crime is a drug to which they are addicted. To keep an ample supply on hand, they send messages like this one to the criminal element – have money, will travel.

  • Fred I. White

    Does TI have an actual ordinary name? Just wondering.



  • Guamster

    What this article fails to mention is that if the judge would have sentenced him to 12 months, instead of one year and a day, he would have had to serve the entire 12 months (as in 365 days). In the federal system, if someone is sentenced to a year and a day, they are eligible for 54 days off for good behavior. Did he get a sweet deal considering that the sentencing guidelines called for 57 months? I don’t know about anyone else but this registers as a really sweet deal complete with cherry on top.

  • Josh

    I think the sentence was very tough. He just wanted the guns for self-defense and wasn’t intending to use them.

    • Chris

      Yes, thats what he said, but are you really going to believe him? I just wanted these guns for self defense, but he still has ties to where he was born. He wasn’t born in the nicest of places, so he could be going to shoot someone.

  • C. Dawg

    As usual the man went after one of our young, black & outspoken voices. T.I. Do your time bro. We’ll be here when you get back…

  • Hmm

    Aphonic Ron??
    I mean you do seem really smart using words that 99% of english speaking adults can go their entire life without saying. But you may want to use them in the correct format when speaking. Are you trying to say he can’t sing?? I mean he is a rapper. You were talking about him being a role model. I don’t think his singing voice really applies!

    • Juli

      Lillian Posted on I like using the swear words that make me uncomfortable in bed. Now I’ve got my pantrer swearing up a storm too. LOL. He pretty much never, ever swears outside of this context, so it comes off as extra-filthy. *smit*

  • mack

    criminals being able to do a greater good should never be a determining factor in giving a sentence.that is no different than saying that a person with talent and resources are slightly above the law.

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