U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff has sentenced rapper DMX to a year in prison for tax evasion.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, had been incarcerated since his bail was revoked in January. The revocation came after Simmons failed to obey restrictions in which he was able to perform shows and get treatment for drug addiction.
During the proceeding, his lawyer, Murrary Richman, recounted his childhood, which involved physical and mental abuse. Simmons cried as Richman got choked up speaking about his client’s background. The rapper has had previous run-ins with the law, struggled with drug abuse and completed multiple stints in rehab, including one in 2017.
The New York Times reported that Richman was allowed to play some of Simmons’ music, including his autobiographical 1998 song, “Slippin’” at the sentencing to give the court a sense of who his client is.
When given the opportunity to address the court, Simmons said, “I never went to the level of tax evasion where I’d sit down and plot ... like a criminal in a comic book.”
On July 13, the 47-year-old rapper was charged with evading income taxes. At the time, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said he participated in a “multi-year scheme to conceal millions of dollars of income from the IRS and to avoid paying $1.7 million of tax liabilities.” Simmons pleaded not guilty to the charges the next day, according to The AP. The New York Times reported he pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud in November.
Although Rakoff was sympathetic to the rapper, he said Simmons had to be punished for the “particularly brazen and blatant” crime, The Times reported.
“In the court’s view Mr. Simmons is a good man, a very far from perfect man,” Judge Rakoff said. “In many ways he is, to give the cliché, his own worst enemy.”
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