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R&B Producer Pardoned On Drug Charge

Dallas Austin Sentenced For Cocaine Possession In United Arab Emirates

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, July 4, 2006
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(AP) Dubai’s ruler pardoned American R&B producer Dallas Austin on Tuesday, hours after he was sentenced to four years in prison for possession of cocaine, two of the producer’s lawyers said.

Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued the pardon but Austin has not yet been released from jail, said the lawyers.

One lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Austin’s release was “a matter of paperwork.” The lawyer said he needed to be careful speaking publicly about the pardon until the Grammy-winning producer was safe on a plane back to his home in Atlanta.

A second member of Austin’s five-attorney legal team confirmed the pardon, but said he had not yet received details. Austin’s release could take a few days, the attorney said.

The court had also ruled that the 34-year-old Atlanta producer, who has created tunes for Madonna, Janet Jackson and Sugababes, should be deported after serving his prison term, said lawyer Qays Hatem al-Zu’bi.

Austin had pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying 1.26 grams of cocaine into Dubai. He told the court on Sunday that he had made an unintentional mistake and did not mean to break the law in the United Arab Emirates.

Similar cases have been pardoned in the past, and the defendant is usually deported.

Local media in Dubai reported that Austin was on his way to supermodel Naomi Campbell’s birthday bash at the glitzy Burj al-Arab Hotel when he was arrested May 19 at Dubai’s airport. Austin’s lawyer disputed the reported nature of his visit, saying the producer was in Dubai to attend concerts.

Since his arrest Austin has been held without bail at Dubai’s al-Rashidiya Police Station.

In 2003, Austin founded the Dallas Austin Foundation, which works to train youth for careers in the music and entertainment industries.

Austin has several hits to his credit, including Pink’s “Just Like a Pill” and TLC’s “Unpretty.” He won a Grammy Award for best R&B album in 1999 for producing TLC’s multiplatinum “Fanmail.”


Posted by loni on 07/05 at 07:48 AM in Celebrity

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