A lawyer for R&B singer R. Kelly says charges in New York accusing attorney Michael Avenatti of trying to shake down Nike raise questions about his role in helping Chicago prosecutors bring sex-abuse charges against Kelly.
Steve Greenberg filed a motion in court Monday asking that all emails and social media posts from those associated with Kelly's case be preserved. The judge did not rule on the motion Monday, instead setting a court date for May 7.
Kelly was not present at the hearing. Greenberg told the judge the singer was ill and his absence was excused for the day.
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Avenetti represents two Kelly accusers. Just days before charges were filed, he gave prosecutors a videotape allegedly showing Kelly abusing one girl.
A complaint in the Nike case says Avenatti mentioned Kelly when speaking to Nike executives, telling them he knew how to generate public outrage even if most allegations against someone weren't true. Avenatti has denied any wrongdoing.
Also in court Monday, Greenberg withdrew a motion seeking to allow Kelly to travel overseas to perform. Greenberg said that motion would be re-filed soon, citing scheduled April tour dates.
Greenberg had earlier claimed Kelly had plans to perform multiple shows in Dubai before he was arrested.
Dubai's government forcefully denied the claim that Kelly had planned concerts in the sheikhdom and was expected to "meet with the royal family."
"Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R. Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked," a statement from the government’s Dubai Media Office said.
It added Kelly "has not been invited by the Dubai royal family for a performance."
The 52-year-old was charged on Feb. 22 with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting three underage girls and one adult woman, coming after the release of a documentary "Surviving R. Kelly." He has denied ever abusing anyone.