Defense attorneys for DMX have requested permission to play the rapper’s songs at his sentencing hearing Wednesday on tax-evasion charges. Made public on Monday, the letter to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff says DMX may be too emotional to speak so playing a selection of songs might allow the court to “understand him genuinely in his voice.”
The lyrics to DMX’s songs “Slippin’” and “The Convo” are attached as an exhibit to the letter.
Attorney Murray Richman also plans to have some of the rappers’s fan mail on the defense table the sentencing, as what he called a “Miracle on 34th Street demonstration of a public’s belief in this man.”
DMX pleaded guilty to a single tax evasion charge in November, the culmination of a federal investigation that determined he had failed to pay taxes between 2010 and 2015, despite earning more than $2.3 million over that period.
In the government’s sentencing submission Friday, meanwhile, federal prosecutors pushed for a five-year sentence, asking Judge Rakoff to “use this sentencing to send the message to this defendant and others that star power does not entitle someone to a free pass, and individuals cannot shirk the duty to pay their fair share of taxes.”
DMX’s attorneys on the other hand asked for leniency, saying a sentence of probation would let the rapper whose legal name is Earl Simmons earn income from performances to pay off his tax burden and support his family. A presentence report tallied the restitution due to be $2.3 million, and Murray’s letter invites Judge Rakoff to find “a creative approach that will permit Earl to repay his debt and financial security through proper management.”
The letter also describes Simmons as a “child of chaos” surrounded by trauma, abuse and crime growing up in the Yonkers streets without any financial education. “It was curious that one of the recommendations of probation were for no new lines of credit; there are none now! Earl Simmons does not even have a bank account,” Richman wrote. “Yet he has earned millions for others and for himself but literally does not know where it is or how to access it.”
Co-counsel Stacey Richman penned her own letter, dated March 5 but also filed on Monday. “Perhaps oddly the government needs to be a dog to him and a find a way to assist this man in regaining his path,” she wrote.
DMX’s attorneys and his managers point out that 2018 marks the 20th anniversaries of his debut record “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” and the follow-up released seven months later “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” which they suggest would be produce significant earnings for DMX if was able to do live performances in 2018.
DMX has been awaiting Wednesday’s hearing from behind bars after Judge Rakoff remanded him into custody on Jan. 30 for violating the conditions of his release by testing positive for cocaine, opiates and oxycodone.
Pat Gallo, DMX’s manager, is quoted in one of the letters as saying that the rapper is already fielding contracted concert appearances despite the uncertainty of his sentencing, with possible penalties and liability for cancelling the gigs.