Dubai's ruler pardoned American R&B producer Dallas Austin yesterday (July 3), hours after he was sentenced to four years in prison for possession of cocaine, two of the producer's lawyers said. D

Dubai's ruler pardoned American R&B producer Dallas Austin yesterday (July 3), hours after he was sentenced to four years in prison for possession of cocaine, two of the producer's lawyers said.

Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued the pardon but Austin has not yet been released from jail, said the lawyers.

One lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Austin's release was "a matter of paperwork." The lawyer said he needed to be careful speaking publicly about the pardon until the Grammy-winning producer was safe on a plane back to his home in Atlanta.

A second member of Austin's five-attorney legal team confirmed the pardon, but said he had not yet received details. Austin's release could take a few days, the attorney said.

The songwriter, whose life story was loosely depicted in the 2002 movie "Drumline," was arrested May 19 at Dubai's airport. He was on his way to a three-day birthday party for supermodel Naomi Campbell at a Dubai hotel, according to reports. He was charged with cocaine possession and has been held without bail at a police station.


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