NEW YORK — DMX was sent to prison Tuesday by a judge who said the rapper’s promises to obey bail conditions requiring drug treatment and travel with a counselor were “a great big lie.”
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ordered the rapper also known as Earl Simmons to await his March sentencing on a tax evasion charge from behind bars.
Rakoff said he was told DMX tested positive last week for cocaine, opiates and Oxycodone and that he traveled to St. Louis without a drug counselor after Rakoff had gone “to extraordinary lengths to meet his needs and desires” so that DMX could continue performing and earning income to support his 15 children.
“And what he said was: ‘Screw you,'” the judge said of DMX’s response to conditions set last summer so DMX could continue a rigorous concert schedule while facing charges he had evaded $1.7 million in taxes.
DMX, 47, whose songs include the 2003 hit “X Gon’ Give it to Ya,” pleaded guilty in November to tax fraud. He faces up to five years in prison.
The Internal Revenue Service had pursued DMX since at least 2005 after concluding he dodged taxes owed on millions of dollars in income amassed from 2002 through 2005 as his hip-hop records sold millions. Authorities said he insisted on being paid cash whenever possible and diverted royalty payments to the accounts of others, including managers.
DMX, who arrived late for three consecutive court appearances, wore down the patience of a judge with a reputation for being compassionate about issues facing defendants.
Promises by DMX to continue drug rehabilitation and to be accompanied by a drug counselor during travel so he could continue his career “was a great big lie, a repeated lie as it turned out,” Rakoff said.
“His activity shows he is a genuine flight risk in ways I hoped weren’t true,” the judge said.
After the judge adjourned the hearing, DMX prepared for incarceration, lifting off his sweatshirt to reveal a shirt with a smiley face and a peace sign on it. He turned over a wad of cash with $100 bills on the outside to a friend before he was led away in handcuffs.
Defense lawyer Murray Richman had argued for his continued freedom, saying Simmons took drugs to cope with the hospitalization of his year-old daughter for several days this month when she had a 104-degree fever.
Richman said Simmons left a drug rehabilitation program in the Northeast to see his daughter in New York City.
“He deals with problems by drugging himself,” the lawyer said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Naftalis told Rakoff that the issue wasn’t the use of drugs so much as the failure of DMX to follow court orders.
The prosecutor said DMX was kicked out of rehab and was spotted “partying in a bar.”
Outside court, Richman said the incarceration interrupts a busy concert schedule for Simmons, who was performing three to four nights a week and was booked solidly through July.