The director was handed the sentence this week (beg07Mar11) after pleading guilty to a charge of attempted extortion in relation to a musician from Chicago, Illinois who claims he was ordered to pay $5,000 (£3,333) to stop beatings from a street gang with links to James.
More than 60 letters of support for James were sent to a judge in charge of the case, including a note from Hollywood star Robert Redford, who recently showed James' Little Birds movie at his Sundance Film Festival.
Redford wrote, "I believe that Elgin has the potential to make a difference. He has an important message for people of all ages and the possibility of change (and) the power of nonviolence."
The sentence comes just days after James was awarded a major Hollywood contract to write a new movie called Low Riders. He will remain attached to the project while he serves his time in prison, according to Deadline.com.
James said after sentencing, "Today I faced my day of reckoning... I have accepted responsibility for my past, and I am now looking forward to continuing my film career."
Leslie Mann and Kate Bosworth have been cast in Goodnight Moon.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the semi-autobiographical drama from Elgin James will also star Chris Coy and Kyle Gallner, who join the previously announced Juno Temple and AnnaSophia Robb as young girls who find themselves in trouble after they run away to LA.
Mann will play Temple's mom and Bosworth will be Mann's sister.
Coy will play a sociopathic street kid, while Gallner will star as a skater.
Jamie Patricof is producing Moon, which begins shooting Sunday near the Salton Sea before moving to LA, says THR.
The death of Star Trek actor James Doohan has provoked a row between four
Scottish cities over plans to erect a plaque in tribute to his Montgomery Scott
character from the legendary sci-fi saga.
Following the news Doohan died last month, officials in Linlithgow
announced they plan to honour engineer Scotty who, according to Star Trek
folklore, was born in the city in 2222.
But, to the astonishment of Linlithgow council bosses, the cities of
Aberdeen, Elgin and Edinburgh have all also laid claim to being the correct
place to pay tribute to the Scotty character.
Councillor Willy Dunn says, "We have information that Scotty was born here
and then moved to Aberdeen. Fair dos to Aberdeen, you can see where their claim
comes from, but Edinburgh or Elgin? I'm not so sure."
Aside from the debate as to where Scotty was actually born, Dunn has another
matter on his mind: "We are trying to figure out what the name of it (a plaque)
would be, because you can't really have a memorial to somebody before they are
born, can you?"
Aberdeen councillor Pamela MacDonald confirms the city is considering a
tribute of its own, as Scotty once referred to himself as an "Aberdeen pub
crawler" in one episode, according to the official Star Trek website.
She says, "If he came from Aberdeen and there's a quotation to say that then
we should claim him."
Elgin official Keith Sands confirms his city is also looking into the
possibility of a Scotty honor as Doohan once said his character came from
"Elgin, near Aberdeen" in an interview.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh's bid relies on a tit-bit of information from website
SciFi.com, which states Scotty's birthplace as "Edinburgh, Earth".
Councillor Lesley Hinds says, "If he really is from Edinburgh then we
shouldn't let these other places claim him."
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