Cash-strapped R. Kelly seeks judge’s permission to fly to Dubai for concerts

Gayle King faces R. Kelly meltdown

R&B singer R. Kelly asked a judge Wednesday to let him travel to the Middle East next month to perform a series of concerts as he scrambles to earn money to pay child support and legal fees, according to new court documents.

Kelly is looking to perform as many as five shows in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, all of which he claims were booked prior to his February arrest on sex abuse charges, according to a motion filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois. The filing didn’t specify the concert venues or how much Kelly could earn.

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The filing does state that Kelly is supposed to meet with members of royal families in the United Arab Emirates and fly by private jet, the Chicago Tribune reported. The concert promoter was to pick up that expense, Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, told the paper.

R. Kelly was booked at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office on March 6 when a judge ordered him jailed until he paid $161,000 in back child support he owed. Kelly was released on March 9 when the money was paid on his behalf. (Cook County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Kelly, 52, was barred from leaving Illinois and forced to surrender his passport after his arrest last month. The United Arab Emirates does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. but the Persian Gulf nation would never jeopardize its good bilateral relationship by harboring a fugitive Kelly, the filing said.

The fallout from the allegations has hurt Kelly financially because of the cancellation of performances in Illinois and a record contract, along with streaming services dropping his songs, the filing said.

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"He cannot work, and consequently cannot make a living if he is confined to Illinois, or even the United States," according to the five-page court document. "Mr. Kelly needs to generate income."

Denying the singer the opportunity to work would be “a hardship on his children,” Greenberg wrote in the document.

It took the Grammy-winning singer days to come up with the $100,000 required on a $1 million bond to win his release when he was first taken into custody in February. Kelly was briefly jailed again in a separate case earlier this month after failing to pay more than $160,000 in back child support.

A judge could rule on the travel request at a Friday pretrial hearing.

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Last month, Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse pertaining to four women, including three who were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He has denied ever abusing anyone.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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