Hardcore rapper DMX was fully cleared Thursday (Aug. 20) of all rape, sodomy and false
imprisonment charges brought against him by an exotic dancer after test results revealed
that his DNA did not match DNA from semen found at the scene of the alleged crime.
Although DMX said he believes that the accusations may have hurt his reputation, the
rapper and his attorney do not plan to file a defamation suit against Angela Hooks, the 29-year-old
woman who blamed him for the assault and then fingered him as the alleged perpetrator
in a police lineup.
"What are you going to get from [the accuser]? ... She doesn't have any money, [so]
there's no remedy," said Murray Richman, legal counsel to DMX,
following the hearing at Bronx Criminal Courthouse in New York.
DMX, who said he received "massive support" from friends and family throughout the
ordeal, seemed calm as he entered the South Bronx Criminal Courthouse in the
morning. He was dressed casually in a khaki sweatshirt and pants and dark sunglasses
and was accompanied by 7-year-old son Xavier and wife Thashera Simmons, who spent
the moments before the hearing outside the courtroom flipping through photographs of a
recent family outing.
As the 27-year-old rapper (born Earl Simmons) heard the ruling, cheers and applause
erupted in the courtroom. Support seemed loudest in the back of the court, where DMX
was sitting, surrounded by 20 or so friends and labelmates, all wearing Rough Riders
T-shirts, a label on DMX's own label, Def Jam.
"Relief" is the word that DMX used to describe his feelings upon hearing that the charges
of rape, sodomy and false imprisonment had been dropped.
At the press conference held outside the court, DMX said he was not angry with his
accuser or with District Attorney Bruce Birns for having pursued the case, adding,
however, that "If someone is going to press charges, they should know who they're
pressing charges against."
DMX was arrested June 17 based on accusations by a female exotic dancer who said
the rapper sexually assaulted her in a South Bronx, N.Y., apartment four days earlier. He
was later fingered by the alleged victim in a police lineup of suspects.
The rapper was cleared of the charges after genetic tests showed that DNA from DMX's
blood did not match DNA from semen found at the rape scene. DNA is the chain of molecules that
transmits hereditary characteristics from parents to children and the probability of
incorrectly matching a crime specimen with a suspect is extremely low, in some cases
less than one in a billion.
During the court hearing, Birns said the DNA test results -- conducted at the urging of
DMX's attorney and offered voluntarily by the rapper -- showed that the state would have
an extremely difficult time making a case against the rapper.
Because of the DNA test results, Birns said, "It's legally impossible to prove beyond a
reasonable doubt" that DMX is guilty of the charges.
DMX appeared edgy during the press conference when he told a group of media and
spectators, "My professional career has been damaged." The rapper's full-length debut,
It's Dark And Hell Is Hot, topped the Billboard 200 albums chart in May
during the album's first week of the release. In addition to touring in support of his debut,
he has spent the past few months responding to the charges.
At the press conference, Simmons said she believed her husband throughout the ordeal.
"I knew [the charges were a] lie from the beginning," she said. "I knew what the outcome
was going to be."
Joining DMX at the press conference was Lyor Cohen, CEO of Def Jam Records, the
label that released DMX's It's Dark And Hell Is Hot. Cohen said the ruling would
allow the rapper to
focus on the release of his next album, which Cohen stated would be out
by Nov. 7. The album is presently untitled.
"Everyone from MTV to BET didn't want to play his videos [in recent months] ... It was
tough," Cohen said.
Asked if he would write a song about the incident, DMX was quick
to respond with a harsh "No."