Monday, July 10, 2006
Republican Senator saves Hip Hop Artist Ass!!
SALT LAKE CITY -- U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a musician in his own right, helped secure the release of Atlanta rhythm and blues producer Dallas Austin from a Dubai jail after a drug conviction, the senator's office has confirmed.
In a statement released through his staff Saturday, the conservative Republican said he was contacted by Austin's attorneys, then called the ambassador and consul of the United Arab Emirates in Washington on Austin's behalf.
A Grammy winner who has produced hits for Madonna, Pink and TLC, Austin was arrested May 19 and convicted of drug possession for bringing 1.26 grams of cocaine into Dubai.
On Tuesday a court sentenced him to four years in jail and said Austin, 34, should be deported after serving the term. Hours later, Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum pardoned and released Austin.
Beyond saying Hatch has "good relations with the ambassador and other good people in Dubai," his office gave no specifics about Hatch's dealings with the Dubai government.
Hatch spokesman Peter Carr said he did not know whether the senator and Austin had ever met, but he confirmed that both employ Atlanta entertainment lawyer Joel A Katz. Hatch has written and recorded hundreds of religious and patriotic songs.
Katz traveled to Dubai to try to secure Austin's release, The New York Times reported Saturday.