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Rapper Coolio spared jail in guilty plea to Los Angeles gun charge


Grammy Award winning rapper, Leon Ivey, also known as Coolio, was on Wednesday sentenced to three years of probation after he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of firearm.

The 53-year-old recording star was also ordered to perform 45 days of community service under a negotiated plea deal sparing him prison time.

The rap artist was charged earlier this month with illegal possession of firearm, an offence that carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.

At his hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of carrying a concealed weapon.

Mr Ricardo Santiago, Spokesman for prosecutors, said the rapper could return to court in a year to have his latest felony conviction reduced to misdemeanour.

He said “this will only be possible if he fulfills his community service obligation and stays out of trouble with the law.

“He already has two prior felony convictions on his record; one in 2001 for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and the second in 2009 for possession of cocaine,’’ Santiago said.

The judge told Coolio that if he was found to be in possession of even a single bullet during the next three years, he would end up back in court and face jail term for violating his probation.

The rap star sounded a note of contrition in remarks to reporters after the hearing, saying his latest brush with the law resulted from a “mistake.

“It was a misunderstanding; I do not condone the use of firearms, legal or illegal.

“Thanks to the court and the attorneys handling this for me; so, I can still do the work that I do,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rapper was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 17 with a stolen loaded handgun.

The gun was discovered in his backpack on the X-ray screening belt as his entourage was going through the security checks to board a flight en route a concert.

Coolio, a Los Angeles-area native, is perhaps best known for his 1995 Grammy Award-winning hit “Gangstar’s Paradise’’, the No. 1 U.S. chart-topper that year and one of the bestselling singles of all time.

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