DMX sentenced to one year in prison for tax evasion, lawyers say playing his music in court helped sway the judge

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Hip-hop recording artist Earl Simmons, aka DMX leaves the U.S. District Court with his attorney Murray Richman (R) after being arraigned, July 14, 2017, in New York City. Simmons is accused engaging 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 / AFP PHOTO / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK— Rapper and actor DMX was sentenced Wednesday to serve one year in a federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for tax evasion.

According to TMZ, the 47-year-old rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, told the courts that he was fully responsible and is too old to be doing the things that he’s been doing.

Simmons has had a long history of drugs, arrests and public offenses since his first studio album with Def Jam Recordings in 1998, which debuted number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S.

On February 10, 2016, Simmons was found lifeless in a Ramada Inn parking lot in Yonkers. He was resuscitated by first responders and given Narcan, the emergency opioid overdose treatment. Police found no illegal substances on the property and Simmons said that he suffered a severe asthma attack.

After the incident, Simmons, who is the father of 15 children, held an interview with The Breakfast Club morning radio show and discussed his drug issues and filing for bankruptcy due to child support, which he claims led to his tax issues.

Although Simmons says his child support payments were too high and he did not have steady pay at the time, Daily Mail reports that Simmons  deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalty income from music recordings into the bank accounts of his managers. The managers would then give him cash to avoid paying taxes. It is also alleged that Simmons refused to shoot scenes on his Couples Therapy Reality Show unless the producer agreed to provide paychecks without withholding taxes.

Fans have been quick to come to Simmons’ defense, claiming his lawyer’s decision to play his music in court in hopes of swaying the judge led to him being sentenced instead of being given parole.

See full breakdown of DMX’s criminal history: 

1998–1999

  • When officers of the Fort Lee Police Department  executed a search of his home in 1999, DMX promptly surrendered himself on weapons possession charges.
  • DMX faced a 1999 animal cruelty charge in Teaneck, New Jersey that was dismissed after the performer agreed to accept responsibility and record public service announcements for an animal rights group.

2000–2005

  • In 2000, DMX served a 15-day jail sentence for possession of marijuana.
  • DMX served another jail sentence in 2001 for driving without a license and possession of marijuana. His appeal to reduce the sentence was denied; rather, he was charged with assault for throwing objects at prison guards. DMX entered rehab to treat his addiction to drugs in 2002.
  • In January 2002, DMX pleaded guilty in New Jersey to 13 counts of animal cruelty, two counts of maintaining a nuisance and one count each of disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia. He eventually plea-bargained down to fines, probation and community service, and starred in public service announcements against the dangers of guns and animal abuse.
  • In June 2004, DMX was arrested at JFK Airport on charges of cocaine possession, criminal impersonation, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal mischief, menacing and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while claiming to be a federal agent and attempting to carjack a vehicle. He was given a conditional discharge on December 8, 2004, but pleaded guilty on October 25, 2005 to violating parole.
  • On November 18, 2005, DMX was sentenced to 70 days in jail for violating parole; the lateness charge added a 10-day extension to the original 60-day sentence. DMX was released early (for “good behavior “) on December 30, 2005.

2008–2011

  • On May 9, 2008 DMX was arrested on drug and animal cruelty charges after attempting to barricade himself inside his Arizona home.
  • DMX pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession, theft and animal cruelty at a hearing on December 30, 2008. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail on January 31, 2009.
  • On May 22, 2009, DMX entered a plea agreement/change of plea, and pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault.
  • After serving four out of six months for violating drug probation, DMX was released from jail on July 6, 2010. That day, a television pilot was filmed to portray his road to recovery. However, DMX was arrested three weeks later and the pilot did not evolve into a series.
  • On July 27, 2010, DMX turned himself in to Los Angeles Metropolitan Court for a reckless driving charge he received in 2002. He was sentenced to serve 90 days in jail.
  • On November 19, 2010, DMX was arrested in Arizona on charges of violating his probation by consuming alcohol (at a performance). On December 20, 2010, DMX was moved to the Mental Health Unit of the Arizona State Prison, and released on July 18, 2011.
  • On August 24, 2011, DMX was arrested for speeding (recorded as 102 mph in a 65 mph zone), reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license. While DMX admitted to speeding, he claims he was driving 85 mph, not 102 mph as charged.

2013

  • On February 13, 2013, DMX was arrested in South Carolina for driving without a drivers license.
  • On July 26, 2013, DMX was arrested again in South Carolina and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as driving without a license.
  • On August 20, 2013, DMX was arrested again in South Carolina during a traffic stop after a car he was a passenger in made an improper u-turn. He was arrested due to an outstanding warrant for driving under suspension. Four packages of marijuana were also found in the vehicle and he, along with the driver, were cited for them.
  • On November 4, 2013, DMX was again arrested by the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport police near Greer, South Carolina after police, who were familiar with his prior arrests, noticed DMX behind the wheel of a vehicle at the terminal. DMX was booked on charges of driving under suspension, having an uninsured vehicle and not having a licensed vehicle. He was subsequently released after spending three hours in jail.

2015

  • On June 26, 2015, DMX was arrested in New York, charged for robbery in Newark, New Jersey, and outstanding child support.
  • On July 14, 2015, DMX was sentenced to six months in jail for failing to pay $400,000 in child support.
  • On December 14, 2015, an arrest warrant was issued for DMX after he missed a court hearing to address child support issues with his ex-wife, Tashera Simmons, and their 4 children.