Backed by a collective gasp from Eminem's friends and family, Judge Antonio Viviano sentenced the rapper to two years probation today in Mount Clemens, Mich., for carrying a concealed weapon outside a Warren, Mich., bar last June.
"I'd just like to say that the judge and the court treated me like any other human being," Eminem told the press during a brief statement after the courtroom was cleared. "I'm looking forward to putting this behind me and getting back to spending time with my little girl and making music. That's what I do."
Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, was charged after he allegedly pistol-whipped John Guerra last June 4th at Hot Rock nightclub in Warren. Eminem claims that he saw Guerra kissing Eminem's now-estranged wife, Kim Mathers. The rapper pled guilty to the concealed weapons count on February 14th. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon. As part of the deal, Eminem and his attorneys could have withdrawn the guilty plea if they were unhappy with Vivianio's sentence. The case would have then gone to trial.
In handing down the sentence, Viviano told the court that he took into consideration the fact that the gun was not loaded nor was it directed at anyone. He warned Eminem, however, not to take probation lightly. "I consider probation to be [very serious]. I don't think it's a lark or a slap on the wrist. I want you to pay very close attention to what is your responsibility and carry them out," Viviano sternly told Eminem.
During the two years, Viviano explained, Eminem must refrain from alcohol or controlled substances, unless prescribed by a doctor; submit to drug tests per his probation officer; not have contact with Guerra; not partake in "assaultive behavior;" undergo counseling; and not own or possess firearms or any other weapons. He was also ordered to pay $7,560 in court costs and fees, as well as $30 per month state supervision fee.
Viviano will allow Eminem to travel within the United States; however, if he wants to go out of the country, he must ask permission first. If he violates his probation, Eminem could wind up in state prison for five years.
After the hearing, Eminem's lawyer Walter Piszczatowski had little to say when asked if the Grammy-winning rapper will be able to abstain from drugs and alcohol. "Yes. That's all," he said before leaving the courtroom.
Wearing a gray shirt and a dark suit, Eminem was flanked by three his three lawyers as well as his manager/lawyer Paul "Bunyon" Rosenberg. The courtroom was filled with fans and Eminem's family members, including his teenage brother Nathan, who accepted the rapper's pair of Detroit Music Awards on Friday.
Attorney Brian Legghio instructed Eminem not to make a statement during the hearing because of a pending civil suit filed by the victim, John Guerra.
"He does not take this matter lightly," Piszczatowski said. "He's also very concerned about his daughter's career and her future . . . His sincere belief is that this is a serious matter. He's effectively been on probation for ten months . . . Mr. Mathers is a self-made man. He's overcome many obstacles. I believe he has the ability to overcome this setback. He's gone through a lot in his life, personally and professionally. He wants to focus on what he does best, which is making music."
On April 23rd, Mathers heads to Oakland County (Mich.) Circuit Court for a pre-trial hearing for carrying a concealed weapon and brandishing a handgun. He allegedly pulled the gun on Douglas Dail -- who works for the rap group Insane Clown Posse -- on June 3rd at an audio electronics store in Royal Oak. The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial.
"We have a very fair judge out there," Piszczatowski said of Judge Denise Langford Morris, who will oversee the case.
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