TFSnewsRoom/FoxNews.com Posted Jun 25, 2006 10:11 PM
Producer's Midnight Express
Yesterday, I was begged, "please do not say what's happening to Dallas Austin. For fear of his life." But then Rush & Molloy broke the news in their gossip column today. Here's what I know.
Dallas Austin, the Atlanta R&B/hip-hop/rap producer of TLC and other major recording groups, got nabbed in Dubai a month ago for drug possession. It was serious. They found coke and a miscellaneous assortment of goodies on him. Austin, as reported, was arriving for Naomi Campbell's birthday party.
Since then, Austin has foundered in a Dubai prison waiting for something to happen. I'm told he has a trial set for the first week of July.
His lawyers, including Atlanta record biz heavyweight Joel Katz, have been trying to settle the case and spring him before that. Of course, the fear is that should a trial go badly, Austin could wind up lost in a Middle Eastern judicial system a la the infamous story told in the film "Midnight Express."
Obviously, no country should be lenient about drugs, but wouldn't it make more sense for Dubai — which is struggling to become the Las Vegas of the Middle East — to extradite Austin back here for trial and punishment?
Dubai, by all accounts, is dying to have Western celebrities and entertainers at its resorts, casinos and nightclubs. The specter of arrest and incarceration isn't going to make that country so appealing, I feel. Tolerance and rational behavior as responses should do the trick.
By the way, didn't Naomi party with the Prince of Dubai over New Year's? He's rumored to be courting her with all kinds of diamonds. Certainly the Prince must have some sway with local authorities. I'm surprised Naomi hasn't used her substantial powers of persuasion to secure Austin's release yet.