Rapper T.I. was released from jail Friday (October 26) on $3 million bond — $1 million secured by his Atlanta-area house and the rest in cash — but he must remain under house arrest until his trial on gun charges, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. T.I. (real name: Clifford Harris Jr.) is charged with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
T.I.’s attorneys brought to the bond hearing two cashier’s checks totaling $2 million provided by the rapper and Atlantic Records, according to the Journal-Constitution.
“I want to thank all the fans for their support,” T.I. told more than 60 supporters — some of whom held “Free T.I.” signs — as he left the federal courthouse in downtown Atlanta, according to The Associated Press. “Due to the severity of the situation, I can’t say much more.” He added, “I want to get all of this behind me.”
Magistrate Alan Baverman put the rapper under house arrest at his home in Georgia’s Henry County. T.I. must also submit to monitoring, 24 hours a day, by a private monitoring service at his own expense. His movements will be monitored by a GPS system, according to the Journal-Constitution. The only times T.I. will be allowed to leave the home — which can be searched at any time, as was the case before the Friday hearing, the Journal-Constitution reports — will be for medical appointments and court appearances. He’s also been forbidden from owning firearms and drinking alcohol, was required to surrender his passport and is not allowed to have contact with any witnesses or informants in his case, according to AP.
The Journal-Constitution reports that the only people who will be permitted to live with him are his girlfriend and children — any visitors must go through a background check, and they could be searched as well. He is also not allowed to have any safes in his house or car, in light of the fact that police discovered weapons in a safe — one that could only be opened with a scan of T.I.’s fingerprints — in one of his houses the day of his arrest, according to the Journal-Constitution. T.I. will be able to record music, however — Baverman said T.I. will be allowed to find appropriate work, and his lawyers said he would work at his home studio, Reuters reports.
Baverman warned T.I., saying “a number of very bad things will happen” if he violates the conditions of his bond or gets in trouble, including his bond being revoked or a potential jail term being increased, according to AP. T.I. told the judge he understood the conditions.
One of the rapper’s attorneys, Ed Garland, argued to Baverman that, based on the amount of money his client would have to put up, there was no reason why T.I. shouldn’t have been released immediately.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Alley countered that the facts of the case suggest the rapper should be kept in custody, pending trial; however, he said that if the judge ordered him released on bond, the government wouldn’t oppose it.
On Friday morning, according to AP, federal agents and representatives from the monitoring service searched the home where T.I. will be staying for the foreseeable future, making sure it was free of contraband. They secured it and no one has been allowed inside since.
Prosecutors allege that T.I., 27, asked his bodyguard to buy three machine guns and two silencers on his behalf, an act that is illegal because, as a convicted felon, T.I. is not allowed to possess or purchase firearms. His bodyguard, whose name has not been released, was arrested on October 10 after he attempted to make the purchases without legally registering the sale, using money that, according to an affidavit, was taken out of one of the rapper’s bank accounts on his orders.
At a hearing last week, it was revealed that T.I. had up to a half-pound of marijuana in his vehicle at the time of his arrest, in addition to three handguns. If convicted, T.I. will almost certainly face prison time, which could run up to 10 years, as well as a $250,000 fine for each charge.
The rapper, who has a number of film and musical projects on hold pending the outcome of his trial, has received words of support from many members of the hip-hop community.
[This story was originally published on 10.26.07 at 4:10 p.m. ET.]