Ja Rule (search) apologized to the city of Toronto after pleading guilty to assault in an altercation at a downtown nightclub last year.

"I'm just sorry about my actions," said the 29-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins (search), as he stood on the courthouse steps Monday with his lawyer, wife and bodyguards.

He received a $1,200 fine after pleading guilty to assault for an incident that took place at La Rouge Nightclub in June 2004. He had been facing a more serious charge of assault causing bodily harm, which could have resulted in jail time.

"Hopefully this was a one-time outburst," Justice W.P. Bassel (search) told him.

Ja said he was provoked by a crowd that had formed near him at the nightclub, shouting "derogatory" comments about his public feud with rapper 50 Cent (search), said prosecutor Mary Humphrey, reading from an agreed statement of facts. As he was leaving, he punched someone standing nearby, the court heard.

The victim ended up with a black eye and some cuts to the eyelid.

The judge apologized to Ja for the "disgraceful" comments shouted at the nightclub, calling them an "embarrassment" for the city.

The rapper, whose hits include "Holla Holla," was shooting a film in Toronto when the incident occurred. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and children.