Rapper Lil Wayne pleaded guilty to a weapons offense offering acceptance of responsibility and remorse

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Less than a month after Lil Wayne was charged with one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, the rapper pleaded guilty to the federal charge Friday at a Florida court hearing.

“Your honor, I plead guilty to the charge,” the rapper born Dwayne Michael Carter told the Southern District of Florida federal district court judge via remote video. Carter’s arrest came nearly 12 months after he was found in possession of the gold-plated handgun at a Miami-area airport in December 2019. yahoo.com reports.  

Carter’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 28th, 2021. The rapper, currently out on bail, faces up to 10 years in federal prison from the charge, but the details of the plea agreement are unknown at this time; the plea may contemplate the elimination of minimum sentencing statutes and a departure from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

According to court documents, “an anonymous tip led officers to Opa Locka Executive Airport on December 23, 2019, where Lil Wayne arrived on a private flight from California. Officers spoke with Carter, who told them that he had a gun in his bag. After securing a search warrant, officers looked in the bag containing Carter’s personal items and found a gold-plated Remington 1911, .45-caliber handgun loaded with six rounds of ammunition. The bag also contained personal use amounts of cocaine, ecstasy, and oxycodone.

 Carter had previously been convicted of a felony, which made his possession of the gun and ammunition illegal.

Following Carter’s arrest in November, Carter’s lawyer, Howard Srebnick, said, “Carter is charged with possessing a gold-plated handgun in his luggage on a private plane. There is no allegation that he ever fired it, brandished it, used it, or threatened to use it. There is no allegation that he is a dangerous person. The charge is that because he was convicted of a felony in the past, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office handling the case released the following press release.

 ”Today, 38-year-old rapper Lil Wayne pled guilty in federal district court to illegally possess a loaded, gold-plated .45-caliber handgun while traveling to South Florida on a private plane last Christmas season. 

According to court documents, an anonymous tip led officers to Opa Locka Executive Airport on December 23, 2019, where Lil Wayne, whose official name is Dwayne Michael Carter, arrived on a private flight from California. Officers spoke with Carter, who told them that he had a gun in his bag. 

After securing a search warrant, officers looked in the bag containing Carter’s personal items and found a gold-plated Remington 1911, .45-caliber handgun loaded with six rounds of ammunition.

The bag also contained personal use amounts of cocaine, ecstasy, and oxycodone. Before December 23, 2019, Carter had been convicted of a felony, which made his possession of the gun and ammunition on that day illegal.

Carter’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 28, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., before U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams.  Carter faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

Carter’s attorney, Howard Srebnick, said in an email that there are legal questions about whether mere possession of a weapon by a felon not judged to be dangerous fits the definition of a crime.

He is likely referring to Associate Justice Amy Barret’s dissenting opinion in a Wisconsin gun possession case where she wrote  the following:

BARRETT, Circuit Judge, dissenting. History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to dangerous people. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons. Nor have the parties introduced any evidence that founding-era legislatures imposed virtue-based restrictions on the right; such restrictions applied to civic rights like voting and jury service, not individual rights like the right to possess a gun. In 1791—and for well more than a century afterward— legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect public safety.

Apparently, the defense has decided to forego challenging the constitutionally of the federal statute. It also is apparent that the search of the defendant’s airplane was not pursued; these factors are consistent with a plea where the defendant is attempting to show acceptance of responsibility and remorse.

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