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MTV Award Show - 9/11/98
Iconoclastic rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard might as well have been flaunting his contempt for the Virginia court system on Thursday when he appeared on national television at the MTV Video Music Awards, even as three warrants for his arrest remained outstanding in Virginia Beach, Va.

Almost one month after he skipped a court hearing on shoplifting charges for the third time, ODB remains at large, a representative for the Virginia Beach General District Court said Friday (Sept. 11).

Three separate warrants on contempt-of-court charges were issued for ODB by the district court after he was a no-show for the third time on Aug. 13. The gruff-voiced member of the Staten Island, N.Y.-based Wu-Tang Clan is alleged to have shoplifted a pair of $50 Nike shoes from a Sneaker Stadium store in Virginia Beach on July 4.

Had authorities wanted to seek him out, they could have found the 29-year-old ODB (born Russell Jones) onstage in Los Angeles on Thursday night. ODB, along with Fugees rapper Pras and solo artist Mya, performed their hit "Ghetto Supastar" in the middle of the MTV awards show, which began at 8 p.m. EDT.

The clip for that song was up for the Best Video from a Film award, which ended up going to Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing."

For their part, authorities in Virginia appear content to wait for ODB to return to the state and either be apprehended or turn himself in. "If he's anywhere in Virginia, we'll arrest him," Anita Smith, a deputy clerk of the court, said last month. "But it's not cost-effective to extradite anyone on misdemeanor charges."

The shoplifting misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and/or a year in prison. Each of the three "contempt of court, failure to appear" warrants carries the same punishment as the shoplifting charge.

Neither ODB's manager, Lee Glasper, nor his attorney, Peter Frankel, returned repeated calls for this story.

ODB was the apparent victim of both a robbery and shooting and a car theft this past summer, just prior to launching his first solo tour. The rapper also caused a small scene at the Grammy Awards ceremony earlier this year when he interrupted pop-folk singer Shawn Colvin's acceptance speech to gripe about his feelings of injustice at the Clan's losing the Best Rap Album award.

Copyright 2002, The Original Free ODB Coalition