Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard pleaded guilty Thursday to a drug charge stemming from a 1999 arrest in Queens, New York, and is now facing two to four years in jail, according to a spokesperson from the Queens County district attorney's office. ODB (born Russell Jones) admitted before Judge Joseph A. Grasso to possession of 20 vials of crack cocaine. In return for the guilty plea, prosecutor Ken Holder will pursue the minimum penalty for the crime at a sentencing hearing on June 13, the spokesperson said. The Wu-Tang Clan member could have faced the maximum sentence of seven years if the case went to trial (see "ODB Considering Deal On N.Y. Drug Charge").
The plea came after Holder, who's been anxious for the case to progress after its ninth delay in mid-March (see "ODB's Hearing On Drug Charges Delayed Again"), began moving forward with a bail-jumping indictment, as he promised he would if a plea wasn't entered before its scheduled May 4 court date, ODB's lawyer, Peter Frankel said. With the plea, the indictment has been waived.
Police found the crack when they pulled over the rapper's car on July 31, 1999. Charges of possessing a small amount of marijuana and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle have since been dropped.
The bail-jumping charges stem from the rapper's failure to appear in court after escaping from a Los Angeles rehab clinic in October (see "Ol' Dirty Bastard Flees Drug-Treatment Facility"), and would have meant a mandatory 18 months to three years tacked on to any sentence he would have received had the case gone to trial.
Although paperwork still needs to be finalized, the plea should also mean that whatever sentence the MC would have gotten if found guilty of a Los Angeles probation violation will run concurrently with the time served in New York. This is in accordance with a deal his lawyer has been working out with Los Angeles prosecutors over the last few months, which would also allow the rapper to enter his guilty plea in writing rather than appearing before the court.
ODB violated his probation, which was ordered after he was caught wearing a bulletproof vest following a violent felony conviction (see "Ol' Dirty Bastard Arrested For Wearing Bulletproof Vest") and making terrorist threats, when he left the rehab facility. The violation could have resulted in consecutive jail time of up to four years, Frankel said.
ODB isn't quite out of the woods yet. He's still scheduled for a May 7 court date to face accusations of sexual abuse and contempt of court. The abuse charge stems from a woman's claim that he assaulted her in a hotel room after another Queens court appearance, in January 2000. Frankel said the prosecution's case is weak because the woman has not made a sworn statement. The contempt charges stem from a 1998 incident where he allegedly violated an order of protection against his wife.