Call it Lil' Kim's Independence Day.
The diminutive rap diva, sentenced to a year in prison after being convicted last year of lying to a federal grand jury about a 2001 shootout, is getting out early on good behavior.
Kim, known to the folks at the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center by her full name, Kimberly Jones, was sprung at 6 a.m. Monday.
By the time she exited the facility, she had jettisoned her jailhouse jumpsuit for a low-cut white ensemble and oversized sunglasses. She emerged clutching a bouquet of white roses and waved to a small group of fans gathered outside before being whisked away in a silver Rolls-Royce.
"Today is a joyous day for me and my family. I am extremely grateful and happy to be home," she said in a statement. "I'd like to thank the city of Philadelphia for the overwhelming support that I received, in addition to the staff at the FDC and all of my supporters. Many special thanks go out to my fans who were critical in helping me get through these past 10 months. I am looking forward to adjusting back to my normal life and getting back to work."
"We are pleased that Kim is coming home to start the next phase of her life," her entertainment lawyer, L. Londell McMillan, added. "She has accepted responsibility and handled herself in an exemplary manner."
She will remain under house arrest at her Alpine, New Jersey, home for an additional 30 days.
The Queen Bee was found guilty of federal perjury charges on Mar. 17, 2005 for lying repeatedly to a grand jury probing the 2001 gunfight outside the New York's Hot 97 headquarters involving Kim's Junior M.A.F.I.A. crew and rival hip-hopsters Capone-N-Noreaga and Foxy Brown.
Police blamed bad blood between the two camps and Brown's trash-talking of Kim earlier that day on the radio for sparking the violence that left one man seriously injured with a bullet in the back.
During the trial, prosecutors asserted the pint-sized entertainer knowingly told some pretty "preposterous lies" to the grand jury to protect two members of her posse. Kim falsely claimed she had no relationship with one of the triggermen, Suif "Gutter" Jackson, a longtime friend and bodyguard, and said that another, manager Damion Butler, was not present at the time of the shooting.
She also took the stand and defended her conduct before the grand jury, saying for instance that in all the confusion after the incident she didn't recognize a photo of Jackson that police had presented to her.
Kim's attorney, Mel Sachs, denied his client committed wrongdoing and initially portrayed her as a victim of a government "witch-hunt" against gangsta rappers.
But the panel didn't buy it, especially after federal prosecutors screened a security video showing the Grammy-winning "Lady Marmalade" standing with Butler outside the station after the shooting.
It wasn't until after her conviction, with Kim staring down the possibility of a 20-year sentence, that she finally 'fessed up.
"I testified falsely during the grand jury and during trial. At the time I thought it was the right thing to do, but I know it was wrong," she told the court, calling herself a "God-fearing good person."
Hoping to avoid a lengthy term, she urged fans to write the judge in the case and politely ask for leniency before sentencing.
Apparently, her last-minute pleas for mercy paid off. Like fellow perjurer Martha Stewart, Lil' Kim got off relatively easy; U.S. District Judge Gerald Lynch gave her a year and a day and fined her $50,000, though he noted that she could get out early if she behaved.
Jones reported to prison on Sept. 19, but not before taping a reality series that BET aired earlier this year chronicling the days leading up to her incarceration. Her latest album, The Naked Truth, hit stores one week later.