Jury selection for R. Kelly’s high-profile sex trafficking trial began on August 9. The former “King Of R&B” has now been slammed with 22 federal criminal charges that alleged the star abused 11 girls and women over the course of more than two decades between 1994 and 2018. Among the victims are two teenage boys who claim they were sexually assaulted by Kelly when they were 17. Now It appears as though the Chicago native, born Robert Sylvester Kelly is asking the court for leniency on a few of the shocking charges.
In a new filing obtained by TMZ, the 54-year-old is asking the court to drop several of the nine indictments that have been filed against him. The “Trapped In The Closet” crooner’s legal team is now requesting that his herpes charge be tossed out citing that under New York Law only transmitting “an acute, bacterial venereal disease such as syphilis or gonorrhea” would be considered a misdemeanor, but that giving someone viral diseases such as herpes would not,” Insider notes.
Kelly’s legal team claims that because herpes isn’t classified as an STD by the World Health Organization or The New York State Department of Health that the charge should be dismissed. Kelly allegedly infected 2 women with herpes during the period of his suspected sex ring, according to NPR.
U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly said she would give prosecutors several days to respond to the motion before making a final decision on the matter.
In addition to child pornography and bribery charges, last week the court exposed a shocking twist into the ongoing court case. Judge Donnelly allowed defense prosecutors to probe Kelly about his underage sexual relationship with late R&B icon Aaliyah who he married in 1994. Kelly allegedly bribed a government official to obtain a fake ID for the then 15-year-old starlet–stating that she was 18-years-old so that they could legally marry her. Prosecutors claim that Kelly pulled the bold move to cover up the fact that he had impregnated the underage teen at the time.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin on August 18 and the trial will reportedly last four weeks. Kelly faces a separate set of federal sex-trafficking charges in Chicago, as well as state-level sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota, Reuters reports.