Will Smith Appealed to President Obama for T.I.’s Release
T.I. stands tall on the cover of Billboard magazine this week and the ATL star has shared a surprising new detail about the circumstances surrounding his 2011 conviction and jail sentence for a probation violation. According to Tip, lobbying in his defense for the case was none other than Will Smith, an old friend who took the extraordinary step of making an appeal to President Barack Obama and United States Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Will actually went as far as getting in touch with [attorney general] Eric Holder and the Obama administration trying to see if we could get some kind of release,” T.I. tells Billboard. “He was very politely told that was not possible. [laughs]”
Though an A-Lister like Smith can move mountains in Hollywood, Tip said he never expected special treatment. Still, he was grateful for the effort.
“He was in deep discussions about it,” T.I. said of Smith’s negotiation tactics. “And he’s been a huge contributor to the administration, and I mean not just in finances, I’m talking about time and other kinds of efforts, so it ain’t like his words were falling on deaf ears. But I understood. I didn’t even expect no help. I didn’t expect nobody to be able to help me. I knew I made my bed and I knew I had to lay in it.”
Read T.I.’s full interview, in which he talks about why No Mercy was “a throwaway project” and explains the delay of his new album Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head (due Dec. 18), over at Billboard.