Trial delayed as rapper Juelz Santana negotiates for deal

NEWARK, N.J. — Rapper Juelz Santana's scheduled trial on charges he tried to get a gun onto a plane at an airport has been pushed back so he can continue negotiations for a plea deal.

A trial had been scheduled for early September. But an order filed this month extended the trial date at least until Sept. 30 "to permit defense counsel the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation in this matter and to allow the parties to enter into plea negotiations."

Santana, whose real name is LaRon James, was arrested in March. Authorities said Newark Liberty International Airport security found a loaded .38-caliber handgun and unprescribed oxycodone pills in a carry-on bag containing his identification. Santana left the area, leaving two bags behind, and turned himself in three days later.

A Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said at the time that agents noticed the firearm in the bag passing through an X-ray at a security checkpoint.

Santana pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a weapon on an aircraft.

Santana has been free on bail while awaiting trial. In June a judge modified his bail so that he could perform concerts in New Hampshire, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. Among the conditions were that Santana's mother accompany him on the trips, that he drive instead of fly and that he not travel with other members of the tour.

Since then, Santana was allowed by the court to tape an episode of the VH-1 show "Love and Hip Hop" in Hoboken and New York.

Santana's attorney didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Friday.

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