NEW YORK — Rapper Lil' Kim was sentenced to a year and a day in prison by Judge Gerard Lynch at Manhattan's U.S. District Court Wednesday afternoon. The rapper was also fined $50,000 and will serve three years' probation after her sentence. She must turn herself in to authorities on September 19.
Hip-hop's Queen Bee — a nickname bestowed on the diminutive rapper by her ex-boyfriend, the late Notorious B.I.G. — was facing up to 20 years in prison, but as expected, Lynch's sentence was less severe (see "Lil' Kim Won't Get Maximum Sentence, Expert Predicts"). Kim was convicted on three counts of perjury and one count of conspiracy in March. Kim's assistant, Monique Dopwell, was also convicted on perjury charges, although she was not sentenced on Wednesday (July 6).
Kim (born Kimberly Denise Jones) wept and held a Bible as she asked the judge for leniency before her sentencing, according to an eyewitness. She admitted to her crime (which eliminated any chance of appealing the conviction, although the sentence can be appealed) and said she was sorry. "I take complete responsibility for my actions," she said. "I testified falsely to the grand jury and during the trial. I know it was wrong. I am a God-fearing, good person, and this is the toughest thing I've ever been through." The judge lambasted her for being dishonest, saying her lies were an insult to him and to the court. "[Providing] false testimony under oath undermines our system of justice," said Lynch, who described Kim's actions as "blatant perjury," with "clear" intent. "It's a serious offense ... and the crimes you covered up were serious, indeed."
The rapper issued a statement two hours after learning her fate: "I would like to thank all of my supporters who have stood by my side throughout this entire ordeal. The many prayers and hundreds of letters of support, e-mails and kind words that have poured in have been overwhelming and critical in helping my family, loved ones and myself stay strong during this time of need. 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."
When she arrived outside the courthouse on Wednesday morning, Kim was surrounded by a crush of TV news crews and reporters. Fans cried out "We love you, Kim!" even as menacing security guards ordered them to "get out of the f---ing way."
Kim maintained throughout the trial that Damion Butler, one of her co-managers at the time of the incident, was not by her side when shots rang out in front of the radio station; security-camera footage later proved he was — a direct contradiction of what she'd told a federal grand jury (see "Lil' Kim Found Guilty Of Lying To Grand Jury, Investigators"). She also told the court she was unable to positively identify a photo of another man who was believed to be involved in the shooting; both that man — Suif "Gutta" Jackson, a member of her former group Junior M.A.F.I.A. — and Butler later confessed to firing on rap group Capone-N-Noreaga, and pleaded guilty to gun charges as part of a plea bargain (see "Lil' Kim's Bodyguard Sentenced To 12 Years For His Role In Shootout").
Other members of Junior M.A.F.I.A., including Antoine "Banger" Spain and James "Lil' Cease" Lloyd, took the stand during the trial and testified for the prosecution that they, too, had witnessed Butler and Jackson with Kim at the time of the shooting (see "Lil' Cease Says He's No Snitch For Testifying Against Kim").
On Wednesday afternoon, L. Londell McMillan, Kim's attorney, said in a statement, "Today Kim showed compassion, courage and dignity for herself and her friend Monique Dopwell. She accepted responsibility and will move forward with her life. The Honorable Judge Lynch was thoughtful yet deliberate in his sentencing and as the judge noted, so many acts of violence and unsolved murders plague our society and hip-hop.
"Kim's conviction in this particular case is unfortunate," the statement continued, "yet ironically so many crimes that have happened in the hip-hop community remain unsolved and in my opinion, the overall focus and scrutiny within hip-hop. The entire hip-hop community should pay attention to the results of this case and honor the strength and sacrifice that Kim has made."
This story was originally published on 07.06.05. at 2:37 p.m. ET