Apparently, DMX is more afraid of the producers of his upcoming movie "Exit Wounds" than the law.
The New York judge who sentenced the rapper to 15 days in jail almost a year ago for driving without a license issued an arrest warrant on Friday (February 9) after DMX, instead of turning himself in to finally begin the sentence, opted to shoot promotions for the film.
Cheektowaga Town Justice Ronald E. Kmiotek, who issued the warrant, was not swayed by a letter from DMX's lawyer, Mark Mahoney, explaining the Grammy-nominated rapper's decision to stay in Los Angeles to fulfill a contractual obligation for the movie, in which DMX (born Earl Simmons) stars with Steven Seagal.
"['Exit Wounds' producer] Warner Bros. ... is refusing to let [DMX] out of his contractual obligation to do a videotaping this weekend," Mahoney said in his letter to Kmiotek. "I have been led to understand that there are, literally, millions of dollars committed to this, and more at stake if they do not get it done on time. Apparently great damage could be done to a lot of people if Mr. Simmons were not there. ...
"He was given an unhappy choice," the letter continued. "Mr. Simmons is at their mercy, however."
Mahoney told Kmiotek he expects DMX to begin the sentence "as soon as this project is concluded, which I am told will take 3 to 5 days."
DMX was arrested March 3 on the Kensington Expressway for traffic violations, driving with a suspended permit and possessing marijuana. The rapper later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving without a license, and Kmiotek ordered the maximum 15-day jail term and $400 in fines.
This is not the first time a warrant has been issued for DMX in the case, nor the first time the rapper has put his professional life before the law: The rapper skipped a March 23 court date to continue performing on the Ruff Ryders/Cash Money tour. A week later, he turned himself in to officials in Cheektowaga, where he received his sentence.
After a New York judge's denial of his appeal of the sentence last month, DMX was ordered to surrender to the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, by 5 p.m. on Friday. Mahoney tried other tactics to keep DMX from behind bars since the order, but his request to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals was denied last week, and a federal judge denied a stay of sentence on Thursday.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark, the prosecutor in the DMX case, said he was not surprised that DMX did not turn himself in. "He's not helping himself any," he added.
Clark said that, under state routine, DMX would only have to serve nine to 10 days if he is well behaved.
In his letter to Kmiotek, Mahoney noted that he supported DMX's decision.
"While there is no injury here if he starts his sentence today or a week from today, there would be real injury if he fails to fulfill these obligations, no matter how unreasonable the producers might be in insisting upon it," he wrote. "Given the fact that there can be no real difference to the Court as long as he actually serves his sentence, and the great harm to others if he was in jail this weekend, I certainly understand why he chose as he did."
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. did not return phone calls. "Exit Wounds" is scheduled to hit theaters on March 16.
DMX is up for two Grammys, including one for Best Hip-Hop Album for ... And Then There Was X.