R. Kelly will return to the court Friday for a hearing at which a judge could rule on whether or not the singer can travel to Dubai to perform several concert dates next month.
Kelly, who surrendered his passport last month as a condition of his bond in four cases of criminal sexual abuse, this week filed a request with Judge Lawrence Flood for permission to go fly to Dubai, where the singer has booked as many as five performances for April and is “supposed to meet with the Royal Family.”
Kelly’s lawyer listed the singer’s recent financial woes amid the fallout from his criminal charges and allegations of a history of pursuing sexual relationships with underage girls and that he is currently in abusive relationships that reached a crescendo after the airing of the six-part “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary.
Kelly spent three nights in jail following his arrest for the sex abuse cases, unable to find $100,000 to post bond until a suburban woman who said she was a friend put up the money. Two weeks later, he was jailed for another three-night stint after a domestic relations judge ordered him locked up for failure to pay nearly $200,000 in back child support and other expenses to his ex-wife.
In recent months, two concert venues in Illinois have canceled appearances by the singer, and Greenberg has said Kelly no longer holds the rights to some of his biggest hits.
“Denying him the opportunity to work would be a hardship on his children,” his lawyer, Steve Greenberg wrote in the motion.
In an interview with CBS reporter Gayle King, an at times outraged Kelly said that he had been victimized financially by associates, but also said he had $350,000 in a bank account— though he claimed when he went to withdraw the money after his arrest, it was the first time he had ever been in a bank.
The motion states that Kelly will travel to Dubai via “private jet,” and Greenberg said that Kelly’s employer will be footing the bill for the flight. Dubai, the largest city in the Persian Gulf nation of the United Arab Emirates, has no extradition treaty with the U.S., though Emirati law requires law enforcement there “aggressively seek out anyone wanted by a foreign government.”
Kelly made international trips repeatedly during the six years he was free on bond ahead of his 2008 trial on child pornography charges, the motion notes, and never missed a court date. Kelly was acquitted of the child porn charges.
Kelly was charged in February with sexual abuse of four victims, three of them underage girls, in separate incidents dating back as far as 1998 and as recently as 2010. In the motion, Kelly’s lawyer argues that the cases are all old and rife with “factual issues” and claimed that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx brought the charges out of a “desire to thrust herself into the spotlight of the #MeToo movement.”