The rap diva, who faces federal perjury charges, may not leave the country, a judge says

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 21, 2004 08:00 AM
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Credit: Adam Rountree/AP

Lil’ Kim has been barred by court order from appearing at the St. Kitts Music Festival in the Caribbean next week, as she may not leave America while facing federal perjury charges, reports Reuters.

New York U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch said that Kim (real name: Kimberly Jones), 28, might be too tempted to stay on the island rather than return to face her Nov. 15 trial.

In April, the rap diva was indicted for lying to a grand jury investigating a Feb. 2001 shootout involving members of her entourage outside a Manhattan radio station. Her charges consist of one count of conspiracy, three counts of perjury, three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction.

The obstruction count carries a maximum 10-year prison term. The other charges carry potential five-year sentences. She has pleaded not guilty.

“People under indictment don’t usually get to leave the United States … once they get out they never come back,” said the judge at Friday’s hearing, where Kim wore a demure beige pantsuit and alligator pumps, The New York Times reports.

Although Kim is permitted to perform in the United States, her bail conditions required that she surrender her passport. She reportedly was getting $35,000 for the St. Kitts concert and would be held financially responsible to concert promoters should she not appear.

Her lawyer Mel Sachs told Judge Lynch that his client, who was scheduled to appear at the festival on June 26, would not be a flight risk because she is a well-known performer.

“Tell that to Roman Polanski,” responded the jurist, referring to the film director who fled the United States in 1977 to avoid statutory rape charges involving a 13-year-old girl. “Just because you’re a celebrity doesn’t mean you don’t jump bail and leave the country.”