ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — World-famous rap star T.I. was sentenced in Atlanta federal court Friday to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay a $100,300 fine on weapons charges related to purchasing machine guns and silencers.
In that time, he mentored at-risk students at 58 schools, 12 Boys & Girls Clubs, nine churches and many other nonprofit organizations, according to court documents.
Meanwhile, T.I., 28, has released his sixth CD, “Paper Trail,” which has sold close to 2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The multiplatinum rapper also has starred in the MTV reality show, “T.I.’s Road to Redemption: 45 Days to Go,” which chronicles his efforts to shave years off his sentence by completing his community service. The show features him talking to students and community groups “about how to avoid the trouble he now finds himself in,” according to the network’s Web site.
“It’s been rewarding in the sense that it takes my mind off my own personal circumstances when I focus the attention on helping others,” he said about his time spent doing community service. “And that way, I’ve definitely been able to appreciate the ability to turn my negative part of my life into a positive.”
Harris recently talked to CNN about learning from his mistakes.
“You shouldn’t take the things that I’ve gone through and the negative parts of my life and admire me for that,” Harris said. “If anything, admire me for how I’ve accepted responsibility for the part I’ve played in placing myself in these situations and what I’ve done to recover from it.” Video Watch the rapper’s interview with CNN’s T.J. Holmes »Harris starred in the film “ATL” and could be seen in Chevy commercials with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Harris was named to the Forbes list of top-earning rappers in 2006, banking an estimated $16 million.
Later, Harris’ fall from grace was sudden and dramatic. He was arrested in October 2007 in an Atlanta parking lot hours before he was to perform at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
Harris was caught in a federal sting after his bodyguard-turned-informant delivered three machine guns and two silencers to him, prosecutors said.
Harris had provided the bodyguard with $12,000 to buy the weapons. Harris was not permitted to own any guns, however, because he was convicted in 1998 on felony drug charges, including possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in Cobb County in suburban Atlanta.
For his court hearing Friday, Harris’ attorneys submitted more than 100 letters from officials who thanked him for his community service since the weapons arrest.
One of the letters was from Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who said Harris did an “outstanding job” talking to a group of teenagers about not breaking the law.
“If only one young person in that courtroom listened to Mr. Harris, and I believe they all did, we are all better for it,” Sears wrote. “He was honest, humble and inspirational.”