R. Kelly Begs Judge To Let Him Go To Dubai As He Struggles To Find Work In The U.S.

R. Kelly performs in concert at Barclays Center
Mike Pont / Getty Images

R. Kelly has asked a judge to allow him to travel to Dubai to perform up to five concerts, claiming he has struggled to find work in the United States ever since he was arrested in February on sexual abuse charges.

The Chicago singer, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, filed a court document on Wednesday in which he explained he intends to perform several gigs in the Middle East, as well as meet up with members of royal families in the United Arab Emirates. The motion, which was filed in Cook County (Illinois) Circuit Court, claims the concerts were arranged before his arrest, but does not mention venues nor does it reveal how much he would make from each show.

According to The Daily Mail, the 52-year-old is struggling to pay child support, for which he has also been indicted recently, his legal fees, and his normal daily expenses. Kelly has claimed this is because his record contract was terminated following last month’s arrest, with his concerts in Illinois getting canceled. Several streaming services have also removed his songs from their platforms.

“He cannot work, and consequently cannot make a living if he is confined to Illinois, or even the United States. Mr. Kelly needs to generate income,” the court document reads.

The judge is expected to rule on his travel request this Friday at a pre-trial hearing.

The motion also took a jab at Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, accusing her of taking advantage of R. Kelly’s case to “to thrust herself into the spotlight of the #MeToo movement” and boost her career on a national level. Foxx’s spokeswoman said that the prosecuting team would respond to Wednesday’s filing at the upcoming hearing, but declined further comment.

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Kelly was previously involved in a child pornography scandal in 2008, but the jury acquitted him of all charges, and he went on to enjoy a successful career afterward. But with the release of the recent documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, and several new abuse allegations, many in the music industry have since cut ties with the award-winning singer.

On February 22, he was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting four women, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged crime. He has profusely denied all the claims and even went on national television to claim that the alleged victims were after their money.

However, he has struggled financially ever since and was even briefly jailed until he managed to pay back $160,000 in child support, an amount that was donated to him anonymously. According to Wednesday’s filing, Kelly needs to travel in order to be able to pay for all those expenses. The filing also argued that he presented no flight risk and has always shown up for pre-trial hearings.