R. Kelly lawyers: We’ll fight bid to add claims to NYC sex trafficking trial

Local News

FILE – In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. Federal prosecutors in New York on Friday, July 23, 2021, asked a judge for permission to admit what they said was evidence for which Kelly has not been charged, at his upcoming sex-trafficking trial in Brooklyn. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — R. Kelly’s lawyers said Monday they would fight prosecutors’ bid to tell jurors about allegations beyond the actual 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 by email, adding that his attorneys would “vigorously oppose” the government’s request.

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

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

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

The charges involve six different women and girls.

Prosecutors now 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 underage boy.

Kelly denies ever abusing anyone.

The multiplatinum-selling singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is known for work 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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