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RZA Gets ODB In Trouble - 10/14/98
In the past six months, Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard has had various scrapes with the law. He had yet another one Thursday, when the 29-year-old rapper was ticketed for driving without a license just three hours after clearing his name of the same violation in a different incident.

ODB was stopped by West Hollywood police Thursday at 7:40 p.m. for a traffic violation, and he was cited for being an unlicensed driver, according to Sgt. Vincent Callier of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. His vehicle was impounded.

Earlier that day, ODB and his lawyer had convinced a judge that he had been wrongly mistaken for his cousin, fellow Wu-Tang Clan member RZA (born Robert Fitzgerald Diggs), on an arrest warrant stemming from the same type of violation on March 26, 1998.

In the March 26 incident, RZA was cited for driving without a license, and allegedly identified himself as Russell Jones (ODB's birth name). A warrant was subsequently issued for Russell Jones when RZA failed to appear in court April 24, according to a courtroom clerk.

ODB and his lawyer, Kevin Barnes, set the record straight during the rapper's appearance at Beverly Hills Municipal Court on Thursday to face separate charges (three counts of felony terrorist threats stemming from an arrest last month, to which ODB pleaded innocent).

The rapper had been taken into custody and was waiting to post an additional $100,000 bail on the terrorist-threat charges when Barnes asked Judge Judith O. Stein to allow his client to appear in another courtroom in order to resolve the case of mistaken identity. Stein agreed to the request and ODB was escorted up to Division 1.

Barnes explained to the Division 1 judge, Eldon S. Fox, that ODB had paid the $2,500 bail on the Russell Jones warrant at the same time he was bailed out of jail on the terrorist-threat charges Sept. 17, after spending a night in jail. Barnes said that ODB tried to explain to officers that the warrant had been issued under the wrong name, but he had paid the amount anyway in order to be released from jail. Upon reviewing the case's file, the judge agreed that the height, weight and date of birth listed on the warrant did not match that of ODB and reissued the warrant for Robert Diggs.

Oddly, the paperwork for ODB's subsequent violation for driving without a license includes the name Robert Diggs as one of the rapper's aliases. "If he gets arrested under a different name, it's added to his record," said Lt. Dave Long of the West Hollywood office of the sheriff's department. He added that the name will probably be removed from the file as soon as police receive the new paperwork from the court explaining the mistaken identity.

ODB is scheduled back in court Oct. 27 for a preliminary hearing on the terrorist-threat charges. He is accused of threatening to kill security guards at the House of Blues nightclub on the night of Sept. 16. According to police, the rapper made the threats after he was kicked out of the club for causing a disturbance and was told he would not be allowed to re-enter the Sunset Strip venue.

Shortly after he posted bail and was released from custody on the terrorist-threat charges Thursday, ODB told SonicNet Music News that he is wrapping up work on his second solo album, the follow-up to Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version.

The rapper also has been a fugitive from Virginia authorities since August, when a judge in Virginia Beach issued three warrants for his arrest on contempt-of-court charges after the rapper failed to appear three times for hearings on shoplifting charges. ODB is accused of stealing a $50 pair of Nike sneakers in July.

Each of the contempt charges, plus the original shoplifting charge, carries a maximum fine of $2,500 and/or a year in prison.

Only days before the alleged shoplifting incident, ODB was the victim of what police say was a robbery and shooting at a relative's house in Brooklyn, N.Y. Police have yet to make an arrest in that case.

In addition, the rapper reported to police that his auto, a Range Rover, was stolen from in front of a New York City recording studio.

Copyright 2002, The Original Free ODB Coalition