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.
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 given that Carter’s lawyers and federal prosecutors worked out a guilty plea, it’s likely he’ll receive much less – if any – jail time.
(The Miami Herald also speculates that Lil Wayne, who drew criticism for supporting Donald Trump in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, could lobby the outgoing president for a last-minute pardon.)
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. Prior to 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 lawyer Howard Srebnick had argued prior to the hearing that the search of the rapper’s plane was a violation of his constitutional rights, but it was Carter himself who wanted to accept responsibility and plead guilty, the Associated Press reports.
Following Carter’s arrest in November, Srebnick told Rolling Stone in a statement, “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.”