NEW YORK (AP) _ An eyewitness to the killing of rap pioneer Jam Master Jay was sentenced to 17 years in prison for a string of robberies after the Run-DMC legend's death.

Federal prosecutors claim Ronald Washington was more than a witness to the 2002 shooting in Jay's Queens recording studio. They have said in court papers that Washington brandished a gun and made people in the studio stay on the floor while an unidentified gunman shot Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell.

The 40-year-old Washington has denied any involvement and has not been charged in the slaying.

Still, prosecutors asked a judge to consider it in sentencing Washington Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon declined, noting that Washington wasn't prosecuted in the shooting.

Defense lawyer Susan Kellman says the prosecutors' claims are based on nothing but "gossip."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.