NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rapper Foxy Brown, serving a year-long prison term stemming from an assault charge, has asked a New York judge for early release to treat an ear condition she fears could threaten her hearing.
“I ask you to please take into consideration that my health is in jeopardy,” Brown wrote in a four-page handwritten letter to Judge Melissa Jackson. The letter was part of an appeal filed late on Tuesday at New York State Supreme Court.
“Yes, I’ve made some bad choices and stupid mistakes. But please understand that sitting in a prison with murderers and criminals is not rehabilitating or what I need to deal with my inner issues.”
Brown, 29, whose real name is Inga Marchand, was sentenced in October 2006 to three years probation after assaulting two nail salon stylists over a $20 manicure. But in September Jackson ruled that Brown was not taking probation seriously and sentenced the rapper to one year behind bars.
Then in October authorities said Brown received 76 days in isolation in jail after getting into a shoving match with another inmate and refusing to do a drug test.
Brown’s lawyer, Laura Dilimetin, said in court papers that Brown’s ear condition makes continued incarceration unfair. In January 2006, Brown underwent surgery to have an electronic device implanted in her right ear to reverse “profound hearing loss,” Dilimetin said.
The only doctor who has successfully treated Brown’s condition — and complications with the implant — is based in California, she said.
“If her hearing is damaged any further, it will affect the way she hears and it will affect the way she sings. It will have dire consequences on her ability to maintain her profession and livelihood,” Dilimetin said.
Brown’s 1999 album “Chyna Doll” opened at the top of the Billboard 200, the U.S. pop chart encompassing all styles of music, becoming the first female rap artist to achieve that.
Brown says that she has learned her lesson.
“Up until now, you’ve only heard about Foxy Brown the artist. I’d like to show you Inga Marchand the beautiful person that my mom raised me to be,” she wrote “Jail has shaken me to my core, and my time away has impacted me greatly.”
Editing by Michelle Nichols and Vicki Allen