(From Feb 24, 2009) Lil Wayne arrives at Manhattan courthouse for hearing on gun charge

*Lil Wayne’s jail term in a gun case has been delayed yet again – this time due to a fire in the New York courthouse where he was due to be sentenced.

Today’s midmorning blaze shut down a Lower Manhattan court for the day, postponing the rapper’s court date among other proceedings, courts spokesman David Bookstaver told the Associated Press.

So far, there’s no word on when his sentencing — already put off two weeks because he needed dental surgery — would be rescheduled. Defense lawyer Stacey Richman said the rapper was en route to New York for his 2:15 p.m. hearing when she learned of the court closing.

Having already prepared himself for jail, Lil Wayne wasn’t pleased to hear about the postponement, she said.

“Once you make up your mind to do something, you want to do it,” she said.

The Grammy Award-winning rapper had been expected to get a yearlong jail term after pleading guilty in October to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He admitted having a loaded gun on his tour bus when it was stopped in Manhattan in July 2007.

The 27-year-old was initially due to be sentenced and start his term last month, but the date was pushed back so he could have surgery on his gemstone-encrusted teeth. He had bid a drawn-out adieu to friends and fellow artists, including a Rolling Stone cover story last month and a video blitz this past weekend. He said in a video clip sent Monday to MTV News that he shot footage for seven music videos with various artists in one night over the weekend.

In a goodbye message posted via Twitter, Lil Wayne wrote: “Yesterday i smiled, today i smirked, tomorrow i stop. Thank for your thoughts and prayers, they’re needed. The F is for family, friends, and fans……….thank u………..your love and prayers are felt. They kant lok up my heart bekuz y’all already have it on lok. ……thank u.”

Meanwhile, the courthouse fire apparently started in a wooden contractor’s shed in the basement of the building at 100 Centre St., which houses many of Manhattan’s criminal courts, its district attorney’s office and other agencies.

More than 1,000 people were forced to leave as smoke spread in the building, leaving a haze in the lobby and a light plume of yellow-brown smoke near the roof. Several surrounding blocks in the busy zone of courts and other government offices were closed for more than an hour.

Eight people suffered minor injuries, including five firefighters, the Fire Department said.