T.I. pleads not guilty to weapons charges


ATLANTA  -- Grammy Award-winning rapper T.I. pleaded not guilty to a trio of illegal weapons charges on Friday and was ordered to be held in custody for another week by a judge who said he would consider releasing him on bond.

Federal agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested the rapper in Atlanta on Saturday, the day he was due to have appeared at the BET hip hop awards. He had been nominated for nine awards, more than any other artist, and won two.

They said the arrest came as he took delivery of three machine guns and two silencers that a bodyguard purchased on his behalf.

T.I., born Clifford Harris, was convicted of a drug offense in 1998 and is prohibited from owning or buying firearms.

T.I.'s lawyers were seeking on Friday to have him released on a $2.2 million bond and subject to electronic monitoring and home confinement.

"I haven't decided that I am going to release him yet. What I am contemplating is looking at everything as a (bond) package," Judge Alan Baverman said.

"I am going to direct that he be detained subject to a continuation of this hearing," he said, referring to another court appearance for the rapper set for next Friday.

T.I. spent two weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart this summer with his album "T.I. vs T.I.P.," his second chart-topper within 18 months. The album sold 468,000 units in its first week, making it one of the biggest debuts of the year and tied for CD of the year at the October 13 awards. He also won best ring tone.

The Atlanta native, who won two Grammy awards in February and was nominated for two others, is also co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records.