NEW YORK Jamal "Shyne" Barrow's sentencing on assault, reckless endangerment and gun possession charges will not take place until June 1, a judge ruled Monday in a brief court session.
Shyne, whose sentencing had been scheduled for Monday (April 16), was brought in from jail on Rikers Island for the court appearance, his first since his conviction last month. He entered the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back, maintaining a somber expression throughout the hearing.
The rapper released a handwritten statement on Monday in which he apologizes to the victims of the nightclub shooting that sparked his charges, but also denies responsibility for their injuries. He was convicted last month of shooting two people at Club New York on December 27, 1999.
"I apologize to the victims; I didn't cause your pain but you can place your blame on my shoulders," Shyne, whose lawyers argued that he fired in self-defense, wrote in his statement.
Shyne's sentencing was delayed at the request of his lawyers, who wanted time to file paperwork related to the sentencing, as well as a post-trial motion for dismissal of some of his charges.
The rapper's spiritual adviser, activist and minister Conrad Muhammad, said outside the courthouse that he expects Sean "P. Diddy" Combs to live up to his promise to financially support Shyne's appeal.
Combs was acquitted of gun possession and bribery charges in the same trial in which Shyne was convicted, and in its aftermath, Shyne accused the rap mogul of abandoning him, a charge Combs denied "Puffy, Shyne In Post-Trial War Of Words").
Muhammad also said that he hopes to hold a support rally for Shyne in the near future, with unspecified hip-hop artists participating.
Shyne's mother, Frances Franklin, urged Shyne's supporters to send letters to Judge Charles Solomon asking for leniency.
"Jamal is staying positive. He prays a lot," Muhammad said. The minister said that he plans to hold a public meeting of music industry executives on April 30, in which he will encourage them to work harder to keep young artists out of trouble. Shyne was in his teens when he signed to Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment.
Full text of Shyne's statement:
"I apologize. I apologize 4 da tears that have fallen from my mother's and grandmother's tired eyes. I apologize to the victims; I didn't cause your pain but you can place your blame on my shoulders. I apologize to all those who cry for me. All those who believe in me. All those who believe me when I say all I tried to do was defend myself. And finally I apologize to my generation for not being there to lead you. Not being there to help you help you escape da harsh realities I sung about which you face everyday. I apologize. I thank God for life and hope. Hope I find in all of you who continue to support me and all of you who continue to believe in me and believe me. God bless you all."
(Click here to view (page 1/
page 2 of Shyne's letter.)
(Click HERE for our complete coverage of the trial.)