- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A self-described pimp already imprisoned and awaiting a death penalty trial in a fiery Las Vegas Strip crash that killed three was sentenced Wednesday to up to five more years behind bars in a prison bribery and smuggling case.

Ammar Asim Faruq Harris, who is behind bars on a rape and robbery conviction, bribed a prison guard and was planning an escape, Karen Whelan, a deputy Nevada state attorney general, told Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney.

The guard, another inmate and four women also were implicated in the scheme that authorities said smuggled takeout chicken, vodka, cellphones and a charger into the prison outside Las Vegas.

Harris, 28, stood shackled and flanked in court by five heavily armed SWAT officers, and declined to speak before he was sentenced to two to five years. He pleaded guilty in October to bribery of a public officer.

His lawyer, Thomas Ericsson, said Harris accepted responsibility for having cellphones in his cell at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs. He asked the judge to impose a lesser sentence.

But Delaney imposed the maximum, and tacked the added time as required onto the 16 years to life in prison Harris is already serving for sexual assault and robbery.

Former prison guard Derland Blake pleaded guilty in September to receiving a bribe and smuggling phones to Harris. He is due for sentencing Jan. 28.

Inmate Derrick McKnight pleaded guilty to bribery of a public officer and was sentenced to two to five additional years. McKnight is serving life without parole for the fatal December 2006 shooting of former professional basketball player and real estate broker Kenneth Hardwick in Henderson.

Three women, including McKnight’s mother, pleaded guilty to bribing an officer, and another awaits trial after pleading not guilty.

Harris was moved from High Desert to the maximum security Ely State Prison after the cellphones were found. His current prison stint comes after a jury found him guilty in September 2013 of four felonies in a June 2010 attack on an 18-year-old woman in the shower of a condominium off the Las Vegas Strip.

His trial in the shooting and crash case is set for July. He has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and weapons charges.

Prosecutors say Harris shot from a black Range Rover and fatally wounded aspiring rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr. behind the wheel of a Maserati sports car. Police say the two men exchanged words earlier at a casino valet stand.

The Maserati slammed into a taxi, igniting a fireball that killed cab driver Michael Boldon and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund of Maple Valley, Wash.

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