After pleading guilty to tax evasion charges last June, Lauryn Hill will face sentencing today (Mon, Apr 22) in New Jersey.
In addition to $75,000 in fines, the 8-time Grammy Award winner — who failed to pay federal taxes on $1.8 million earned between 2005 and 2007 — faces up to three years in prison (1 year for each of the three counts).
But before her court date, Hill filed legal docs last week begging the judge for mercy, claiming she had a good reason for not paying her taxes.
In the docs, Lauryn says she stopped paying taxes after she “withdrew from society at large due to what she perceived as manipulation and very real threats to herself and her family.”
The statement is basically a one-line summary of an extremely wordy statement the singer/songwriter/rapper posted to Tumblr in June 2012. You can read that here if you’ve got some time to kill, but here’s a very small snippet of it:
Learning from the past, insulating friends and family from the influence of external manipulation and corruption, is far more important to me than being misunderstood for a season! I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns! I also embraced my right to resist a system intentionally opposing my right to whole and integral survival.
I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period. Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution.
My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.
Based on her explanation on why she didn’t perform her duties as a responsible American citizen by paying her taxes, do you think the judge is going to have mercy on Lauryn Hill? Or will she have to spend the next 3 years of her life behind bars, a la Wesley Snipes?