An overseas trip by R Kelly is in limbo after his lawyer asked a judge for more time to provide details to court about up to five concerts the R&B singer wants to perform next month in Dubai.
A Chicago pre-trial hearing only briefly touched on a defence motion asking the judge in the sexual assault case to approve Kelly’s travel, portraying him as desperate for concert income to pay bills amid his legal troubles.
Lawyer Steve Greenberg told reporters outside court that he wanted to gather more information on the concerts to give Judge Lawrence Flood “a certain comfort level” about what the travel and concerts would entail.
Kelly’s entertainment lawyer, Doug Anton, said any Dubai trip was off for now as contracts with Dubai concert organisers are reworked.
He said celebrity singers often go to Dubai for appearances, then arrange concerts.
“The court requires more formalities,” he said, speaking at the courthouse.
A condition of Kelly’s bond is that he cannot travel outside Illinois without court permission. Judges often refuse that permission in felony cases, fearing defendants will go on the run.
If convicted on 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault, Kelly could face decades behind bars.
Mr Greenberg said Kelly was not a flight risk, noting that the Grammy winner travelled abroad for concerts before his 2008 child pornography trial and never missed a hearing date.
Jurors acquitted him on all counts.
“If he goes to Dubai, he is going to come back from Dubai,” Mr Greenberg said.
Despite court filings saying the sex abuse allegations have led to the cancellation of several US concerts, Mr Anton said he had 150 emails Kelly received asking him to perform “everywhere possible”.
“Professionally, it is looking up,” he said.
Mr Greenberg said Kelly also continued to make music and “has lots of material to release”.
But he also said Kelly’s bills are extensive, including because of child support payments. Mr Greenberg said a rule of thumb was “The more money you make, the more money you spend”.