Jay-Z pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to stabbing record producer Lance "Un" Rivera in December 1999 and is expected to be sentenced to probation.

He faces up to three years' probation for the third-degree assault charge, according to a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney's office.

The incident took place December 2, 1999, at the Kit Kat Club on West 43rd Street in Manhattan, at a listening party for Q-Tip's solo album Amplified. Jay-Z, who had performed earlier that night at a separate party for his own then-new album, The Life and Times of S. Carter, had denied any wrongdoing from the start (see "Jay-Z Turns Himself In To Police For Questioning, Denies Involvement In Stabbing").

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 6.

Defense attorney Murray Richman had no additional comment, and prosecutor Joan Illuzi-Orbon didn't return calls by press time. Spokespeople at Island Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella, the label Jay-Z co-founded with Damon Dash, couldn't comment by press time, and a spokesperson for Rivera's label, Untertainment, did not return calls.

Before the plea, Jay-Z faced up to 15 years in jail on charges of felony assault in the second degree if found guilty at trial.

Rivera had drafted a civil suit against Jay-Z following his arrest but didn't file it after they settled the matter out of court for between $500,000 to $1 million, according to the Associated Press.

The criminal case had been rescheduled numerous times since Jay-Z's arrest on December 3, 1999 (see "Jay-Z Charged With Felony Assault, Lawyer Maintains Rapper's Innocence").

A day before the guilty plea, a separate gun-possession charge against Jay-Z was dropped, according to a Manhattan district attorney spokesperson. The rap star, bodyguard Hamza Hewitt and two other men were arrested April 13 when New York police found a loaded .40-caliber Glock in Hewitt's waistband (see "Jay-Z Arrested On Gun Charge").

Hewitt admitted sole ownership of the firearm, and Judge Charles Solomon dismissed the charges against the other three men. Hewitt will be sentenced for criminal possession of a weapon on December 4.

Jay-Z's latest album, The Blueprint, will be #4 on next week's Billboard 200 albums chart, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (October 17). It has sold more than 1.1 million copies since its release five weeks ago.

(This story was updated at 6:37 P.M. ET on Wednesday, October 17, 2001.)