Usher retains custody of children



ATLANTA - A judge in Atlanta on Friday dismissed an emergency request by R&B singer Usher's ex-wife seeking temporary custody of their two children.

Tameka Raymond filed for an emergency custody hearing asking for temporary custody after their 5-year-old nearly drowned on Monday.

Usher Raymond V fell to the bottom of the pool and became stuck in the drain on Monday, according to an Atlanta police report. A housekeeper tried unsuccessfully to free him. A contractor doing work at the home pulled the boy from the pool and performed CPR.

Usher’s attorney contends the incident was an accident, and that those at the home helped save the child’s life.

“This was an accident that could happen to anyone with adult supervision,” Usher’s attorney, John Mayoue, told the court. “He wants to be at his son’s side at the hospital. He doesn’t want to be here today.”

Usher’s aunt, Rena Oden, was caring for the two boys Monday afternoon while Usher was at work, about five minutes away, Mayoue said. Oden’s emotional 911 call was played for the courtroom, and Tameka Raymond cried as she listened to it and during her testimony.

On the stand, she told the court she was not kept informed of who was taking care of her children, despite calls and emails to Usher that were not returned.

“I don’t know where my children are. I don’t know who my children are with,” she said. “He doesn’t confer to me regarding anything.”

Usher was called to the stand shortly before 4 p.m. He told the court he left and went to his studio less than hour before getting a phone call about the incident involving his son.

Furthermore, a hired pool service had cleaned and checked the pool earlier Monday.

The boy was "conscious, alert and breathing" when emergency medical workers arrived, police said. The boy was still in the hospital Friday.

"They're just assessing him," Raymond told reporters outside the courthouse after the hearing. "There is a lot we don't know. I mean you can't — it's only been a few days so we're very thankful that he's obviously alive but we still have to observe him and make sure that everything is OK."

Neither Usher nor his ex-wife looked at each other as they waited for the hearing to start. Both were looking down at phones or documents, seemingly oblivious to the crowded courtroom awaiting the hearing, which began around 2:30 p.m., above 30 minutes behind schedule.

Usher was granted full custody of the two boys nearly a year ago.

Usher and Tameka Raymond married in 2007 and divorced two years later. They went through a lengthy child custody battle, and Usher last year was awarded primary custody of the boys, who are about a year apart in age.

After the judge issued his ruling, Usher approached his ex-wife and gave her a long hug.

Usher left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

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