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OTRC: Ja Rule released from prison, faces more time for tax case

Rapper Ja Rule has been released from an upstate New York prison after serving almost two years behind bars for illegal gun possession and was immediately taken back into custody for an unrelated tax case.

The 36-year-old's lawyer, Stacey Richman, told the Associated Press on Thursday, February 21 that the rapper may end up serving less than six months for the latter case and also may be eligible to do so at a halfway house.

Ja Rule served 20 months out of a two-year prison sentence, stemming from a 2007 gun possession case. Police arrested him in 2007 and said they found a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun in his car following a concert in the city with Lil Wayne, who spent eight years in prison for his involvement. Ja Rule pleaded guilty at a New York court in December 2010 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

In July 2011, Ja Rule was sentenced to an additional 28 months in prison for failing to pay more than $1 million in taxes. The rapper served his first sentence in protective custody, the Associated Press reported.

Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffery Atkins, had pleaded guilty to three counts of unfiled taxes and admitted that he hadn't filed taxes in five years. Both of his prison sentences were to run concurrently, with the tax conviction adding only five months to his original two years.

"I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal," Ja Rule told a New Jersey federal court at the time. "I was a young man who made a lot of money - I'm getting a little choked up - I didn't know how to deal with these finances, and I didn't have people to guide me, so I made mistakes."

During his time in prison, Ja Rule released his seventh studio album ,"Pain is Love 2," which is his first major record in eight years.

The rapper is known for songs such as "I'm Real" with Jennifer Lopez and his 2001 album "Pain is Love" was nominated for a Grammy Award. He has also has appeared in films such as "The Fast and the Furious" in 2001 and "Scary Movie 3" in 2003.