R Kelly claims in his appeal that he didn’t have a fair trial and the jury was biased. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/ Getty Images)
Controversial singer R Kelly is appealing his conviction in New York where he was sentenced 30 years in jail for using his superstardom to sexually abuse women and children.
The disgraced R&B singer was found guilty on eight counts of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering in September 2021. The charges were based on several allegations spanning more than two decades, including those from numerous women who claimed that he sexually abused and exploited them.
Despite the strong evidence against him, Kelly has decided to appeal the conviction and his legal team have approached the appeals court to reverse his convictions or order a new trial.
His legal team say the evidence from past relationships and testimony from former employees shouldn’t have been considered. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/ Getty Images)
Following his sentencing, Deveraux Cannick, one of Kelly’s lawyers, told Rolling Stone the case against Kelly was full of inconsistencies.
Now the appeal has been put into motion.
According to legal documents obtained by entertainment news website TMZ, the singer has put forth multiple arguments for why he believes his conviction should be overturned.
His legal team argues that the government didn’t meet its burden of proof in court, despite having a jury that convicted him on all charges.
“Like so many #MeToo cases, the government was given free rein to make this case about Kelly’s life, introducing mountains of other bad-act evidence that has nothing to do with the charged offences,” they said in a statement.
They also claim that the trial judge was biased against Kelly and that the evidence presented during the trial was “circumstantial and lacking in substance”.
Furthermore, they say that four jurors shouldn’t have been seated on the jury because they admitted to deciding his guilt before the formal decision and at least two of them have watched the documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which could have affected the outcome of the trial.
The Grammy-winning singer also has explanations for the underage girls he’s alleged to have groomed and molested. He says through his lawyers that some of them were 18 years old at the time of their sexual interactions and he was misled by the girls about their real ages.
His lawyers say that the evidence from his past relationships and testimony from former employees shouldn’t have been considered.
“Details about his sex life and/or conduct behaviour from former partners or exes of his, accounts of which dove into STDs, sexual preferences and behaviour in the bedroom, were not relevant to the crimes being alleged against him and were simply a way for prosecutors to sway the jury.”
The disgraced singer is serving two sentences after he was convicted in two separate trials. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/ Getty Images)
According to the court documents, Kelly is also pushing back on former employees and associates who took the stand in his trial. He says that several people falsely testified to stuff they had no real knowledge of and weren’t privy to as staffers.
The singer-songwriter is currently serving a 30-year sentence and is facing financial ruin after the US government seized nearly $28 000 (R507 022) from his trust account. He was also ordered to pay more than $360 000 (R6,5 million) in restitution to two separate women who alleged they had contracted herpes from him.
His legal team are seeking to have those orders removed and have the funds confiscated from his trust account returned.
Kelly is also serving a 20-year sentence after he was convicted in February on three counts of manufacturing child pornography and three counts of inciting a juvenile to engage in sexual activity in Chicago.
Although he hasn’t appealed his second sentence, he insists that he’s innocent.