Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty today to tax evasion on over $1.5 million she earned between 2005 to 2007.
The Fugees front woman appeared today before a judge at the U.S. District Court in Newark, along with her attorney Nathan Hockman. Asked if she had "intentionally and willingly" neglected to pay her taxes, Hill responded "yes."
Sentencing will take place in late November, and the singer faces up to three years in prison — one year per count — and as much as $75,000 in fines.
Hockman attempted to excuse his client's behavior using the "everyone does it" defense. "There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability," he said. "They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was."
Hill herself penned a rambling apologia earlier this month in which she claimed her failure to file taxes stemmed from being driven "underground" by "the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by."
She went on:
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.
Hill says the "danger" she faced was "not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments" by the authorities, who refused to find "an alternative solution."
[photo via AP]