Monday 16 September 2019

R&B star R Kelly asks US court to let him travel to Dubai to perform concerts

R Kelly (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
R Kelly (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
R Kelly (Matt Marton/AP)
R. Kelly (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Michael Tarm

R&B star R Kelly has asked a US court to let him travel to Dubai next month to perform up to five concerts.

His lawyer asked the Chicago court for more time to provide details of the concerts.

The former professional basketball player faces 10 charges of sexual abuse involving four alleged victims, three of whom were minors.

If convicted, he could face decades behind bars.

The 52-year-old singer is desperate for concert income to pay mounting bills amid his legal troubles.

Lawyer Steve Greenberg told reporters he wanted to gather more information on the concerts to give the judge "a comfort level" about what the trip would entail.

Kelly's entertainment lawyer, Doug Anton, said any Dubai trip was "off for now".

"The court requires more formalities," he said.

A condition of Kelly's bail is that he does not travel outside Illinois without the court's permission.

Mr Greenberg said the Grammy winner was not a flight risk. "If he goes to Dubai, he is going to come back from Dubai."

He said that Kelly had travelled abroad for concerts before his 2008 child pornography trial and never missed a hearing date. Jurors on that occasion acquitted Kelly on all counts.

Despite court filings saying the sex abuse allegations had led to the cancellation of several US concerts, Mr Anton said Kelly had received 150 emails asking him to perform "everywhere possible".

Mr Greenberg said Kelly also continued to make music and "has lots of material to release".

But he said Kelly's bills were mounting up, partly because of child support payments.

"The more money you make, the more money you spend," said Mr Greenberg.


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