DMX Cleared Of Rape Charge; Plans No Retaliation

Rapper relieved that DNA tests prove his innocence and intends to get back to work on next album.

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."