March 19, 2008 / 12:15 AM / in 10 years

Rapper Busta Rhymes begins probation in N.Y.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York judge sentenced Grammy-nominated rapper Busta Rhymes to three years of probation on Tuesday for assaulting two people in 2006.

File photo shows rapper Busta Rhymesat the Criminal Court in New York, January 23, 2008. A New York judge sentenced Busta Rhymes to three years of probation on Tuesday for assaulting two people in 2006. REUTERS/Marko Georgiev

The rapper, whose real name is Trevor Smith, in January dropped his innocent plea, avoiding trial and a possible one-year prison sentence sought by prosecutors.

Judge Larry Stephen sentenced Rhymes after he pleaded guilty to assault, two driving infractions and weapons possession. He began serving his sentence on Tuesday.

“I have no problem being a good dude because that’s what I am,” Rhymes, 35, told reporters outside the courtroom.

He pleaded guilty to beating a fan who reportedly spat on his car in August 2006, then assaulting his driver, Larry Hackett, that December.

Rhymes was fined $1,250 for driving with a suspended license in 2006 and driving while intoxicated in 2007. He also will serve 10 days of community service and participate in an anti-drunk driving program.

Trevor Smith, Jr., better known as Busta Rhymes, arrives at state court with one of his lawyers for sentencing on assault charges, in New York, March 18, 2008. REUTERS/Chip East

Reporting by Edith Honan, editing by Christine Kearney and Xavier Briand

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