R Kelly lawyers vow to fight bid to add claims to sex trafficking trial

Jury selection is due to start August 9 in a New York federal court for the Grammy Award-winning R&B star.

R Kelly
R Kelly

R Kelly’s lawyers have said they will fight prosecutors’ bid to tell jurors about allegations beyond the charges at his upcoming federal sex trafficking trial.

“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,” Kelly lawyer Nicole Blank Becker said, adding that his lawyers will “vigorously oppose” the government’s request.

“As the trial nears we are looking forward to the truth prevailing,” she said.

Jury selection is due to start August 9 in a New York federal court for the Grammy Award-winning R&B star.

R Kelly
R Kelly (Amr Alfiky/AP)

He is charged with leading what prosecutors call a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees. Prosecutors say the staff helped Kelly recruit women and girls for sex and pornography and to exercise a lot of control over them.

The charges involve six women and girls.

Prosecutors also want jurors to hear about more than a dozen other people who allege Kelly sexually or physically abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated them.

The claims include an allegation that he had sexual contact with an under-age boy.

Kelly denies abusing anyone.

The multi-platinum-selling singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is known for songs including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped In The Closet, a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

He also faces sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota and has pleaded not guilty.

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