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Nelly Arrested in Washington State Following Tour-Bus Rape Accusation 

CC BY-SA 2.0
  • CC BY-SA 2.0

By JOE COSCARELLI
© 2017 New York Times News Service

Nelly, the multiplatinum St. Louis rapper, was arrested early Saturday in Auburn, Washington, after a woman accused the musician of raping her on his tour bus, according to local police.

The Auburn Police Department said in a statement that the alleged incident reportedly occurred in the parking lot of a local Walmart after Nelly performed with the popular country group Florida Georgia Line at the White River Amphitheater, outside of Seattle.

“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,'” police said of the musician, who was born Cornell Haynes Jr. Nelly was taken into custody at 4:37 a.m. and booked at a nearby jail; an investigation is ongoing.

Scott Rosenblum, a lawyer for the rapper, said Saturday afternoon that Nelly was no longer in custody and had not been charged.

“Nelly is the victim of a completely fabricated allegation,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “Our initial investigation clearly establishes this allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness.

“Nelly is prepared to address and pursue all legal avenues to redress any damage caused by this clearly false allegation,” he added.

Beginning with his debut album, “Country Grammar,” in 2000, Nelly released a string of hit singles, including “Ride With Me,” “Hot in Herre,” and “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” and went on to win three Grammy Awards. Though his popularity has waned in recent years — his most recent album, “M.O.,” was released in 2013 — he has found some relevance in pop-country music, teaming with artists like Florida Georgia Line (most notably on the “Cruise” remix) and covering the Thomas Rhett song “Die a Happy Man.”

Since June, Nelly has performed as an opener on Florida Georgia Line’s Smooth tour, which was scheduled to continue Saturday night in Ridgefield, Washington. Rosenblum, Nelly’s lawyer, said that as of Saturday afternoon, the rapper was still scheduled to perform and that no changes had been made to the tour.

Representatives for Florida Georgia Line did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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