Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., who performs under the name Nelly, was detained early Saturday while on tour in Washington state after a woman reported she was sexually assaulted by him on a tour bus, according to police.
The rap artist, who is touring with the country music band Florida Georgia Line, was released from custody and charges are being withheld “pending investigation,” according to his attorney, Scott Rosenblum.
According to a statement released by the police department in Auburn, Wash., at 3:48 a.m., “a female called 911 to report that she was sexually assaulted by a male, who is known as the rapper ‘Nelly.’ ” The police said the alleged assault occurred on the rapper’s tour bus, located at 762 Outlet Collection Dr. SW, Auburn. A Walmart Supercenter is listed at that address.
According to Auburn police, officers investigated the report and took Nelly into custody at 4:37 a.m.
The entertainer, who performed Friday evening at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, denied the allegation in a statement emailed from his lawyer. According to Rosenblum, the accusation is “completely fabricated … devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness.”
“I am confident,” Rosenblum wrote, “once this scurrilous accusation is thoroughly investigated, there will be no charges. Nelly is prepared to address and pursue all legal avenues to redress any damage caused by this clearly false allegation.”
Nelly has been a top selling hip-hop artist since his debut album in 2000. He is best known for his 2002 single “Hot in Herre,” which earned him a Grammy for Best Male Rap Solo Performance.
The tour had been scheduled to continue in Portland, Ore., on Saturday night. There is no word yet from event producer Live Nation on the status of that show.