R. Kelly’s legal team are objecting to federal prosecutors’ plans to introduce evidence that he may have molested a 17-year-old boy and carried on a relationship with another older man.
Among several complaints, the 54-year-old R&B singer’s attorneys claim in filings obtained by TMZ that the new evidence shouldn’t be shown to jurors, as they may hold anti-LGBTQ biases.
In addition to fears that the Chicago jurors may be more likely to convict Kelly based on the allegations, his lawyers also say there simply isn’t enough time to prepare to defend against the allegations, which were introduced just weeks ahead of the scheduled start of his trial.
Prejudicial: Attorneys for R. Kelly, 54, claimed in court filings that prosecutors shouldn’t be allowed to introduce evidence that he may have molested a 17-year-old boy, as it could inflame anti-LGBTQ jurors, according to TMZ; Kelly is seen in Chicago in 2019
On Friday, July 23, federal prosecutors filed a motion to introduce evidence that Kelly (given name: Robert Sylvester Kelly) groomed and molested a 17-year-old boy in 2006.
He’s alleged to have met the boy at a McDonald’s location before inviting him to a party at his home in Chicago.
Although he was accompanied by his parents to the party, the singer allegedly told him to visit again by himself, which he allegedly did, at which point Kelly began a sexual relationship.
He’s also accused of grooming another teenage boy that the first boy introduced him to, though their relationship allegedly didn’t start until years later.
At the time, Kelly’s attorney Nicole Blank Becker told TMZ: ‘This is nothing more than a veiled effort to pile on to further shape the public’s perception in this case ignoring that Mr. Kelly is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.’
Short notice: Prosecutors want to share evidence that he molested one boy and groomed another, but Kelly’s attorneys say their isn’t enough time to prepare to fight the allegations; Kelly’s mugshot from February 2019
Now Becker and Kelly’s other attorney Thomas A. Farinella claim in their filing that the new evidence shouldn’t be introduced, as prosecutor’s only shared their plans about four weeks before the trial is set to start.
They say that wouldn’t give them adequate time to prepare a defense to the allegations.
Kelly’s attorneys also wrote that the allegations and evidence could potentially turn some jurors against their client because of the alleged same-sex relationships — and they don’t have a way to weed out potential bigots at this late date.
The questionnaire that potential jurors will soon see has already been designed, and it’s intended to single out their potential biases and experiences, which help both prosecutors and defense attorneys take potential jurors out of the pool if they might be biased, either to convict Kelly or to let him off.
Flying blind: They say in their filing that the jury questionnaire has already been finalized but doesn’t have questions asking how jurors would react to someone who may have been in a same-sex relationship; seen in June 2019 in Chicago
But the defense attorneys wrote that the questionnaire is ‘void of a single question about [potential jurors’] opinions or feelings on same-sex relationships.’
They’re worried potential jurors who would be more likely to convict someone who may have had a same-sex relationship could end up on the jury.
They say R. Kelly couldn’t get a fair trial if those people made it onto the jury and became convinced that he was gay or bisexual.
The attorneys told TMZ that plenty of people still discriminate against others due to their sexual orientation, so they should be quizzed on their beliefs on the jury questionnaire.
They’re arguing that none of the new evidence should be introduced at trial, which is set to start in mid-August.
Prejudiced? They’re worried potential jurors who would be more likely to convict Kelly if they’re led to believe he may be gay or bisexual; seen in September 2019 in Chicago
Kelly was also accused of bribing a Cook County clerk in February 2019, the same month the county’s State Attorney’s Office charged him with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Prosecutors say a ‘crisis manager’ for the singer gave the clerk $2,500 and a ‘burner phone’ to get inside information on the legal issues.
The judge in the case recently allowed a nine-day delay on the start of the trial after Kelly replaced his legal team.
The I Believe I Can Fly singer is accused of recruiting women and underage girls for sex, allegedly selecting his victims at concerts, though he denies ever having abused anyone.
Bad timing: Kelly was also accused of bribing a Cook County clerk in February 2019, the same month the county’s State Attorney’s Office charged him with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse; seen in 2013 in LA
He is also facing state charges in Minnesota, Illinois and New York, but his federal trial is scheduled first, despite multiple Covid-19 delays.
Shortly before he was charged, the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly debuted. It featured multiple women who claimed they had been abused by him.
They also alleged that he and his entourage deprived them of food and took away their cellphones so that they couldn’t call for help.
The women also allegedly had their sleep schedules controlled, and they were forced to have sex with each other at the singer’s behest.
If convicted, Kelly could stay behind bars for the rest of his life.
Denial: He’s accused of recruiting adult women and underage girls for sex, though he denies ever abusing anyone; seen in 2006 in London