Bounce musician Big Freedia must live in a halfway house and submit to substance abuse testing after repeatedly testing positive for illegal drugs, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk ruled Wednesday.
The judge determined after a hearing in which Big Freedia was present that the entertainer, born Freddie Ross Jr., ran afoul of the conditions of her $25,000 bond. The drug test results came as Big Freedia, who pleaded guilty in March to the felony theft of nearly $35,000 in Section 8 housing vouchers, awaited an Aug. 11 sentencing.
Big Freedia tested positive for marijuana in April and May, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office, then tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamines on June 21. Africk found that Big Freedia compounded her problems with evasive statements to federal probation officers and the judge.
She has previously admitted to bilking the federal government from 2010 to 2014 by dramatically understating her income on housing aid applications, even as she starred in her own television show and toured the country.
Big Freedia, 38, faces a maximum 10-year sentence and $250,000 fine.
While Africk had agreed to let Big Freedia fly to Puerto Rico to receive an award and perform as recently as May, there were previous hints of trouble in the court record.
The conditions of her release were modified April 20 to require her to “immediately” submit to substance abuse testing and treatment. Court documents did not state the reason for that ruling.
In the wake of Wednesday’s ruling, Big Freedia must live at a halfway house, can leave it only with the prior permission of a probation officer and must undergo “further substance abuse evaluation,” court records state.
The “Queen of Bounce” will also be prohibited from touring or performing at shows without approval from the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.
Big Freedia gave no sign of concern about her new legal headaches as recently as Wednesday morning, when she posted on Twitter about her appearance over the weekend at the Essence Festival.