As the date for R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial approaches, his legal team has now petitioned the court to dismiss charges that he knowingly exposed two people to herpes.
According to new legal documents reported by TMZ on Monday (Aug. 9), the disgraced R&B singer’s lawyers have argued that herpes doesn’t count as a sexually transmitted infection as defined by the New York State Department of Health. Therefore, they want the charges thrown out before his sex trafficking trial gets underway.
“To allow the government to move forward with those counts would be to allow a clear mischaracterization and interpretation of the application of the statute, considering the statute clearly does not incorporate herpes,” Thomas Farinella, one of Kelly’s lawyers, wrote in a message to the judge.
The request to dismiss the charges arrives less than two weeks before Kelly’s New York trial is set to begin. As reported by REVOLT, selection for 12 jurors and six alternates began in a Brooklyn federal court yesterday. According to the Associated Press, hundreds of potential jurors arrived at court, where U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly questioned them about their ability to remain objective about the case.
Opening statements for the trial will begin on Aug. 18. According to AP, several of Kelly’s accusers are set to testify against him as the 54-year-old faces racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, forced labor, bribery and enticement charges.
Prosecutors are also reportedly planning to prove that Kelly purchased a fake ID for a then-15-year-old Aaliyah so he could marry the teenager in 1994 when he was 27 years old.
Kelly has been incarcerated since 2019 and is currently being held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center as he awaits trial. The Chicago native is also facing state and federal charges in Illinois, as well as soliciting a minor and prostitution charges in Minnesota.