LATEST: T.I.'s arrest following a weapons deal with an undercover police officer was a "set up" by U.S. authorities, a source close to the rapper has claimed.
The 27-year-old - real name Clifford Harris, Jr. - was taken into custody on Saturday (13Oct07) after he allegedly sent his bodyguard to buy three machine guns and two silencers from the cop, posing as an arms dealer.
The unnamed bodyguard was acting as a co-operating witness to the agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), when he claims he was instructed by Harris to make the cash deal for the guns, worth $21,000 (GBP10,500).
But a pal of Harris is confident of the rapper's innocence, and says the nine other firearms found at T.I.'s College Park, Atlanta home in Georgia, were the rightful belongings of his security team.
He tells MediaTakeOut.com, "(The bodyguard) asked T.I. for an advance on his (pay) and T.I. gave it to him... Whatever he spent money on - whether it be guns, drugs, or formula for his children - T.I. had nothing to do with it.
"The government was just looking to pin a case on T.I. - they've been trying for years. So they pushed (the bodyguard) into snitching on T.I.
"T.I. has security that live with him and stay with him at all times. The guns that the (federal agents) found belonged to his security team... And by the way, (the members of his) security team are licensed to carry firearms."
The arrest took place hours before T.I. was due to attend the B.E.T. Hip-Hop Awards, where he was scheduled to perform.
Harris is due to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman at the United States Courthouse in Atlanta on Monday (15Oct07), where he will answer charges of felony possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.