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Slick Rick Sticks Around

Judge intervenes on rapper's behalf before deportation

December 30, 2002 12:00 AM ET

British MC Slick Rick will get another chance to demonstrate he deserves to stay in the U.S. despite a 1991 attempted murder conviction. A federal judge blocked the rapper's impending deportation Friday, just a day before he was to return to England, where he is a citizen.

Rick, born Ricky Walters, has lived in the U.S. since he was eleven, but was to be forced out of the country under a law that requires deportation of foreigners convicted of violent felonies. Now thirty-seven, he spent five years in a New York prison after he shot three people in 1990, including his cousin.

Walter's case attracted the support of high-profile members of the hip-hop and political communities -- Russell Simmons, Will Smith and the Rev. Jesse Jackson all spoke out in support of the rapper, best known for his 1988 debut The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. "I think it's really unfair," Walters himself told Rolling Stone. "It doesn't make sense for a country so intellectually advanced to allow a family to be ripped apart and be thrown out of the country."

Under the terms of his reprieve, Walters will remain in federal custody in Florida -- where he has been since his arrest last June -- until his case can come under further review.

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