Emin Agalarov, the Russian pop star who is said to have helped arrange Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, said Monday he has been forced to cancel his tour of the United States and Canada "due to circumstances beyond [his] control."
In a video on Facebook, Agalarov claimed he had nixed the upcoming tour "against his will." His lawyer said in a telephone interview with NBC News that he doesn't want his client coming to America under fear of being held under a material witness warrant. Agalarov had been scheduled to perform in New York on Saturday night.
Agalarov is seen as a figure in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian election interference. Agalarov's lawyer told NBC News last July that his talks with Mueller's team were "ongoing," but NBC News reporting at the time indicated that the singer had not been officially interviewed.
Agalarov's lawyer, Scott Balber, said in a phone interview Monday that the cancellation is "most definitely" linked to the Russia probe.
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"It has nothing to do with any substance," Balber said, adding that his client was "happy" to speak to Mueller's team and various congressional committees on a voluntary basis but the parties involved had not yet agreed on the "parameters" of that testimony.
"He could come and do the concert but we don't want him to be subpoenaed or held under a material witness warrant or anything else," Balber added.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr., told NBC News in 2017 that Agalarov was key in setting up the face-to-face conversation. She claimed at the time that she had never met Agalarov, who is the son of Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov.
The Agalarovs were in talks with Trump about a real estate deal in Moscow that would include a Trump Tower, but according to a person familiar with the deal, it never materialized. This deal was separate from the Trump Tower Moscow deal pursued by Michael Cohen and Trump associate Felix Sater. Prosecutors allege the latter deal was pursued through June 2016, contrary to Michael Cohen’s testimony to Congress. The potential deal with the Agalarovs is drawing new scrutiny from Congressional investigators.
Agalarov seemed to wink at his place in President Donald Trump's orbit in a music video released last June for a track titled "Got Me Good." In the video, Agalarov sings in English alongside lookalikes of Trump, adult film performer Stormy Daniels and Hillary Clinton.
Agalarov’s new album “Good Love” is out on Friday, the day before the New York City concert was scheduled to happen.
The real Trump previously appeared in another Agalarov music video when the Miss Universe pageant was held in Moscow in 2013. Trump, who owned the pageant at the time, pretended to fire the singer as if he were a contestant on "The Apprentice."
A spokesperson for the special counsel's office declined comment.
Anna Schecter is a producer for the investigations unit of NBC News.
Keir Simmons is a London-based foreign correspondent for NBC News.