Citing cash woes, R Kelly asks judge for OK to fly to Dubai

Singer R. Kelly faces 10 counts of sexual abuse crimes against four women. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
0

Citing cash woes, R Kelly asks judge for OK to fly to Dubai

  • The motion said Kelly is scrambling to pay child support, legal fees and everyday expenses because of the cancelation of US gigs and contracts
  • Wednesday’s filing argued Kelly is no flight risk

CHICAGO: Cash-strapped R. Kelly asked a judge Wednesday to let him travel to the Middle East to perform several concerts, according to a new court filing that said he has struggled to get work in the US since his February arrest on sex abuse charges.
The R&B singer hopes to do up to five concerts next month in Dubai, according to a motion filed in Cook County Circuit Court. It doesn’t specify venues or how much Kelly could earn from the concerts, which the filing contends were arranged prior to Kelly’s arrest.
The concerts seem to be private events, as no publicity has been released about the singer performing in the city.
The motion said Kelly is scrambling to pay child support, legal fees and everyday expenses because of the cancelation of Illinois concerts and a record contract, as well as the removal of his songs from streaming services.
“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.”
A judge could rule on the travel request at a Friday pretrial hearing.
Wednesday’s filing also criticized Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, accusing her of using the case “to thrust herself into the spotlight of the #metoo movement” and to boost her nationwide profile.
A Foxx spokeswoman said prosecutors would respond to the defense filing at the Friday hearing but declined further comment.
Kelly grew up in a Chicago public housing project and went on to become an internationally-acclaimed singer. But amid abuse allegations, music industry executives and fans have started keeping their distance. Lawsuits and tax issues have also hurt him financially.
Kelly was charged Feb. 22 with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting three underage girls and one adult woman. He has denied ever abusing anyone.
Defense lawyer Steve Greenberg joked to a judge the next day at a bond hearing that, “Contrary to the song, Mr. Kelly doesn’t like to fly” — a reference to the singer’s hit “I Believe I Can Fly.”
But Wednesday’s filing said that for a worldwide star like Kelly, travel is essential.
It took the Grammy winner days after his arrest to raise the $100,000 required on $1 million bond to win release. In a separate case earlier this month, Kelly was briefly jailed again until he paid $160,000 in back child support.
Among the bond conditions in his sex abuse case was that he surrender his passport and that he not travel outside Illinois without the judge’s permission.
Wednesday’s filing argued Kelly is no flight risk, noting how he was permitted to travel before his 2008 child pornography trial and always appeared for pretrial hearings. Jurors later acquitted him on all counts.


Need to vent some anger? Jordan opens ‘Axe Rage Rooms’

Updated 18 April 2019
0

Need to vent some anger? Jordan opens ‘Axe Rage Rooms’

  • People can demolish old items as well as smash plates and glasses — but for the price of $17
  • So-called rage rooms have been opening up around the world

AMMAN: In an underground room in Amman, a small group of Jordanians swing giant hammers at an old television, computer and printer, wrecking the machines, and then hit a car windscreen, shattering the glass into tiny pieces.
In the “Axe Rage Rooms,” people can vent their anger and frustration by demolishing old items as well as smashing plates and glasses.
“This is simply a place to break things and vent,” co-founder and general manager Ala’din Atari said. “A place where people come when they’re looking for a new experience... walking into a room with various items which they can break.”
So-called rage rooms have opened around the world, drawing visitors who want let their hair down and unleash some anger.
At the “Axe Rage Rooms,” where the experience costs $17, participants wearing protective suits and helmets wrote the issues bothering them on a blackboard — “ex-girlfriends,” “boss” and “all boyfriends,” the words becoming the targets of their anger.
Atari said his venue, which has seen about 10 clients a day in the month since it opened, had a space for couples, where the pair enter two rooms separated by a reinforced glass window.
“I wanted to try something new and...it was great,” said Ayla Alqadi, 23, after chucking old kitchenware at the window — behind which stood a friend.
“I felt like I had extra energy, it was a way to channel all the negativity inside, everything you feel inside you can release here.”