R. Kelly Told to Avoid Jackson at Grammys

By Don Babwin
Associated Press
Thursday, January 29, 2004; Page C07

CHICAGO, Jan. 28 -- R. Kelly won't be mingling with Michael Jackson during next month's Grammy festivities: A judge has ordered the R&B star, who is awaiting trial on child pornography charges, to stay away from the King of Pop, himself facing child molestation charges, when Kelly attends the awards.

The Chicago-based Kelly has produced two songs for Jackson: the 1995 hit "You Are Not Alone" and last fall's "One More Chance." Kelly is nominated for two Grammys at the Feb. 8 ceremony in Los Angeles and had to get a judge's permission to attend; Jackson is not up for any awards and there are no indications that he even plans to attend.

Prosecutors and Kelly's lawyers said they never raised the issue of a meeting between the two singers during a hearing this week about Kelly's travel. Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan made the edict on his own, they said. The judge was at a funeral Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Kelly lawyer Edward Genson said Monday's ruling, first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday, was not a problem.

"What's the difference if someone makes an order not to see someone he didn't want to see in the first place?" Genson said.

Kelly, already a Grammy winner, is nominated for best contemporary R&B album for his double-platinum "Chocolate Factory" and best male R&B performance.

Kelly was arrested in June 2002 after a videotape surfaced that allegedly showed him having sex with an underage girl. He has denied the charges described in a 21-count indictment.

Kelly, who remains free on bond, has received Gaughan's permission to travel before. He has to be back in Chicago from his latest trip on Feb. 18.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company