ABOVE PHOTO: Nelly (Photo: Shutterstock)
By Martha Bellisle
SEATTLE — Police arrested rapper Nelly early Saturday after a woman said he raped her on his tour bus in a town outside Seattle, an accusation the Grammy winner’s attorney staunchly denied.
Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., was arrested about 4:37 a.m. Saturday in his tour bus at a Walmart, Auburn police spokesman Commander Steve Stocker said.
The woman called 911 to report being sexually assaulted by Nelly on the tour bus, police said in a statement.
He will have his first appearance before a judge “at some point,” Stocker said. Nelly was scheduled to perform in Ridgefield, Washington, on Saturday night.
Nelly’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, said Saturday afternoon that the singer was released from jail pending the investigation, and he is expected to be at the Ridgefield show.
Nelly performed at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Washington, on Friday night. He’s on tour with Florida Georgia Line.
At 12:23 a.m. Saturday, after that show, he sent out a Tweet that said in part: “its (sic) really you against the whole world because the whole world don’t know you exist.”
Rosenblum called the rape claim a “completely fabricated allegation.”
“Our initial investigation clearly establishes this allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness. I am confident, 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,” Rosenblum said in an email.
Nelly was arrested in Tennessee in 2015 on felony drug possession charges after a trooper smelled marijuana on his bus. Nelly later pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor drug charges: possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, the district attorney said. Nelly agreed to a pretrial diversion, which means his record was later cleared, Rosenblum said.
Nelly is a three-time Grammy winner, including for the song “Hot in Herre,” which won the best male rap solo performance award in 2002.
The song has been sampled and re-recorded by other artists and is ranked No. 21 on a Rolling Stone magazine list of top summer songs. Nelly is also known for the hits “My Place” and “Over and Over.” He appeared in the 2005 film “The Longest Yard.”
The following year he shared a Grammy for the song “Shake Ya Tailfeather” with Murphy Lee and Sean Combs.
Nelly is also a minority owner of the Charlotte Hornets.