R. Kelly has asked a U.S. judge to allow him to perform in Dubai and meet with the royal family.
An Illinois judge is expected to consider the plea at a court hearing on Friday. The rapper was charged on February 22nd with ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse for assaulting three underage girls and one adult woman.
The charges were levied against the singer after Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary aired. R. Kelly has repeatedly denied that he has abused anyone.
R. Kelly’s lawyer Steven. A. Greenberg said the rapper needed to perform in Dubai to raise money to help pay child support. His lawyer argues that R. Kelly should be allowed to fulfill the terms of a contract he signed before he was arrested.
“Before he was arrested Mr. Kelly had signed a contract to perform between 3-5 shows in Dubai, UAE, in April 2019. He requests permission to travel to Dubai for the shows. While there he is supposed to meet with the royal family.”
The court filing does not contain any information about where R. Kelly will be performing. At present, there isn’t a publicized event for which R. Kelly was announced as a performer. At this stage, the best guess is that Kelly is planning to perform privately for wealthy members of royalty. That includes a birthday party or other engagement for a partying sheikh, a lucrative source of income for many musician superstars.
Dubai has long been a place for the exiled to seek haven from their own countries.
In 2016, a Pakistani General fled to Dubai after facing criminal charges in his home country. Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra also fled to Dubai in 2017 to avoid a criminal conviction.
The United States does not have an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates, which R. Kelly’s lawyer acknowledged in the filing.
“The United States and the UAE have great relations, and they are not going to jeopardize that relationship to harbor R. Kelly.”
It’s probably unlikely that the judge will grant R. Kelly’s request — but hey, it’s bold of Kelly to try.