News: On The Verge Of Possible Jail Time, Lauryn Hill Begs For Mercy

Monday, Apr 15, 2013 10:55AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill is reportedly pleading with all of her might to avoid spending time behind bars on a tax-related conviction by explaining why she avoided paying nearly $2 million to the government.

According to reports, Hill has filed documents which claim her family's well-being was reason enough not to pay taxes for three years.

Lauryn Hill claims she stiffed Uncle Sam on a massive tax bill for the same reason she fell off the map after the '90s -- scary threats to her and her family. Lauryn just filed legal docs asking for mercy before her sentencing later this month, claiming there was a good reason she failed to file tax returns for 2005, '06 and '07 ... when she earned a total of more than $1.8 million. She already pled guilty and faces several years in prison. According to docs ... Lauryn stopped paying taxes "when she withdrew from society at large due to what she perceived as manipulation and very real threats to herself and her family." (TMZ)

She also noted it would be much more efficient to pay the tax debt as a free woman rather than sitting in jail.

She's not specific about the threats -- but it's a new explanation for her mysterious disappearance from the music scene after her rise to fame in the '90s. Lauryn previously claimed she went underground to get back in touch with her musical roots. Lauryn's asking the court to consider a bunch of other factors before her sentencing -- including her claim that she can pay off the debt much faster if she's not behind bars. Lauryn is begging for probation. A judge will be merciful -- or not -- on April 22. (TMZ)

Last summer, Hill's estranged Fugees partner Wyclef Jean briefly addressed her legal woes.

"Actually, you know, I ain't speak to Lauryn. It's been a minute. I heard about the little drama she got in the news, wishing her better on that. You know? Actually, I was on the phone with Pras earlier. It's all good. Nothing but love for the Fugees." (Montreality)

Past reports suggested Hill could also be hit with $75,000 in fines along with having to pay off the $1.8 million tax debt.

Hill's attorney Nathan Hockman said the star had been targeted by the federal government because of her celebrity status. "There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability," Hockman said. "They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was." Hill spoke little at her hearing today and stood attentively with her arms crossed in front of her chest when the judge first addressed her. She appeared in a white button-down shirt, blue blazer and long coral skirt. (Star-Ledger)

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