LATEST: Rapper DMX escaped a year's jail sentence in court in New York yesterday (18NOV05) but will still have to serve 70 days behind bars for violating his release conditions following a 2004 arrest after he pretended to be a federal agent and attempted to steal a car.

The rap star, real name EARL SIMMONS, was originally sentenced to spend 60 days in New York's Rikers Island prison after pleading to violating his deal last month (OCT05), but judge DOROTHY CHIN-BRANDT added 10 days when DMX showed up for his sentencing hearing almost three hours late on Thursday (17NOV05).

After spending a night in the jail he'll call home for the next few months, DMX arrived back in court in handcuffs yesterday. He apologised to Chin-Brandt for his tardiness the day before, maintaining claims he'd suffered an asthma attack, and produced a doctor's note verifying his illness.

Unmoved, the judge passed her sentence, which upset prosecutor GERARD BRAVE, who argued in favour of additional jail time for the rapper, claiming he "continues to show disregard for the court and he continues to put his own interests and his career ahead of the court."

After the sentencing, the rap star, 34, was immediately taken to Rikers Island to start his prison time.

Outside the courthouse, Simmons' lawyer MURRAY RICHMAN said, "I'm not happy with the (extra) 10 days, but it's better than a year."