*A trial for rapper Ja Rule could start as soon as this week in a gun-possession case stemming from a July 2007 stop of his luxury sports car. He was scheduled for a court date Monday.
Police say they found a loaded semiautomatic gun in a rear door of his $250,000-plus Maybach after it was stopped for speeding following a Manhattan concert. The chauffeured car also had a suspended registration and no insurance, police said.
The platinum-selling rapper, born Jeffrey Atkins, has pleaded not guilty to criminal weapon possession. His lawyer has said the traffic stop was unjustified and has questioned a type of DNA analysis used in the case.
Ja Rule was leaving the Beacon Theater when his car was stopped. Police said they smelled marijuana and found a .40-caliber semiautomatic gun in the rear driver’s side door. He wasn’t charged with drug possession, and a judge threw out the rapper’s statement to police that he had “a little bit of weed” in his pocket.
If convicted on the gun charge, the 34-year-old could face up to four years in prison.
Separately, rap big Lil Wayne also was arrested on a gun-possession charge after the same concert, which he headlined. At the time, the two had recently joined forces on a single called “Uh Oh.”
Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Carter Jr., pleaded guilty last year to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He admitted he’d had a loaded, semiautomatic .40-caliber gun on his tour bus, which was also stopped after the show.
The 28-year-old spent eight months in the city’s Rikers Island jail complex, releasing an album, “I Am Not a Human Being,” while behind bars. He was freed last month.