additional reporting by Shaheem Reid
After being indicted on 14 counts of tax evasion, DMX is out on bail.
The rap legend and movie star pleaded not guilty on Friday afternoon (July 14), appearing in court with beige pants and a white t-shirt that read "R.A.W." across the chest. He was granted $500,000 bail, of which $50,000 will be paid in cash and personal property. Under the terms, he must get permission to travel out of New York, submit to drug tests, and he cannot be in possession of a firearm. Prosecution told United State Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck that they agreed to bail for DMX, despite what Peck described as a "remarkable" rap sheet for X, because he and his lawyers were cooperative.
DMX will still be able to perform on Saturday at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival as previously scheduled.
News reports surfaced late last night (July 13) that DMX turned himself into law enforcement after being indicted. The Feds say that X "engaged in a multi-year scheme" to evade taxes, and that he owes $1.7 million in taxes. If convicted on all 14 counts, he faces up to 44 years in prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon J. Kim released a scathing statement on the case:
"For years, Earl Simmons, the recording artist and performer known as DMX, made millions from his chart-topping songs, concert performances and television shows. But while raking in millions from his songs, including his 2003 hit 'X Gon' Give it to Ya,' DMX didn't give any of it to the IRS. Far from it, DMX allegedly went out of his way to evade taxes, including by avoiding personal bank accounts, setting up accounts in other's names and paying personal expenses largely in cash. He even allegedly refused to tape the television show 'Celebrity Couples Therapy' until a properly issued check he was issued was reissued without withholding any taxes. Celebrity rapper or not, all Americans must pay their taxes, and together with our partners at the IRS, we will pursue those who deliberately and criminally evade this basic obligation of citizenship."
The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, which has DMX scheduled to perform on Saturday (July 15), has released an official statement after receiving repeated questions about the news.
""Stop it". That is the official statement from the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on questions regarding the DMX story on tax evasion," the festival stated. "Stop with the gossip. Stop piling on a brother who is on his way to court. Just stop it. For once, let's get together as a community and get his back. Let's take a step back and analyze the situation."