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Grammy-nominated rap artist Earl Simmons, better known as DMX, could miss next Wednesday's awards ceremony and turn himself in to local authorities early next week to begin his 15-day jail sentence, the rapper's publicist said Wednesday.

"It's a disappointment," Angelo Ellerbee told the Associated Press. "This is the first year he is nominated in two categories, but . . . he understands he's a person that is admired by millions and he wants to set the proper examples."

But the Erie County district attorney's office isn't impressed with the example Simmons has set so far.

Cheektowaga Town Justice Ronald Kmiotek, who sentenced Simmons to 15 days for driving without a license last May, signed a warrant for DMX's arrest on Friday after the rapper failed to meet the court-ordered deadline to begin his jail term.

Simmons has been in California fulfilling a previous commitment to work on promotional material for a movie.

"Right now we have somebody who has told the court and the system that my obligations are more important than your court order," said Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark.

Clark isn't taking the rapper's noncompliance lightly.

"If that's his attitude, we'll wait for him to finish his obligations and then deal with him," Clark said Wednesday. "And that doesn't mean just sitting on our hands waiting for him, but I'm not going to say anymore about that right now."

Mark J. Mahoney, Simmons' chief local attorney, criticized the court's treatment of his client and had asked Kmiotek to give Simmons additional time to begin his jail term. In similar cases, Mahoney said, it is common for people to receive an adjustment in their surrender date if they had pressing matters out of town.

"He's been getting a bad rap as if he's thumbing his nose at the court, when in fact he was given an arbitrary court-appearance date which didn't account for other obligations he may have had," Mahoney said.

The White Plains resident was stopped on the Kensington Expressway last March 29, three hours after performing a concert in Buffalo. He pleaded guilty in May to driving without a license, marijuana possession and two parking tickets. It was his fifth arrest for driving without a license since September 1998.

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