R. Kelly is feeling the weight of his ongoing sex trafficking case, both literally and figuratively.
One of his lawyers said in court this week that Kelly’s once-heavy pockets have become considerably lighter since he’s been in jail. But, they added, while his pockets have flattened, being behind bars has had the opposite effect on the disgraced singer’s ballooning physique.
The two factors are linked because it means not only that Kelly needs to be measured for new clothing to wear during his upcoming trial in New York City, but he also now cannot even afford to pay for court transcripts, his lawyer, Devereaux Cannick, said at a hearing on Tuesday. Cannick said Kelly has run out of money to pay for his remaining legal fees as he hasn’t been able to perform in nearly two years.
The Chicago native-born Robert Sylvester Kelly who was once revered as the “King of R&B” was arrested in July of 2019 on federal charges that alleged the singer of child pornography, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. The hitmaker is also accused of kidnapping and organizing a sex ring of young women and girls into forced labor.
The news about Kelly’s wealth and weight came as U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly was getting ready to prepare plans on how the women involved in the trial would give their testimonies. The Associated Press noted that prosecutors “outlined their plans to call numerous witnesses, including women who say they were sexually abused, physically abused, and coerced to do things for Kelly’s pleasure.”
Witnesses claiming to have been abused by Kelly would not be required to testify with their real names. Furthermore, Connelly prohibited prosecutors from asking witnesses questions that might potentially expose their previous professions or prior mental health conditions.
Kelly, who is known for his 1996 smash hit, “I Believe I Can Fly,” has faced ridicule over the years about his sex life in the ’90s. Some of those jarring details could now be used against him in court, including his underage marriage to the late Aaliyah, who was a young teenager at the time.
Connelly also announced that prosecutors will be allowed to present evidence about Kelly’s “sexual contact” with the star.
MSNBC noted that the pair secretly married in 1994 when she was 15 and he was 27. Kelly “allegedly bribed a government official to obtain a fake ID for her showing her age as 18, according to a 55-page motion filed by prosecutors last week.” The marriage was later annulled.
The defense claims that Kelly only married Aaliyah because she became pregnant at the time. He then secretly arranged a marriage to “protect himself from possible criminal charges, because a wife can’t be forced to testify against a husband.”
“It’s clearly relevant and it clearly shows a motive for Racketeering Act Number One, so that is admissible,” U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly ruled.