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R. Kelly lawyer cites 'groupie remorse' in bail letter

R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building

R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building following a hearing on June 26, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Scott Olson

A lawyer for singer R. Kelly on Wednesday blamed the federal sex charges he is facing on “groupie remorse” in a letter seeking bail at an upcoming hearing in Brooklyn federal court.

“This is touring rock and roll, not a criminal enterprise," lawyer Douglas Anton wrote, complaining about federal charges that accuse the hip-hop star of using his musical career to run a racketeering enterprise that recruited women and underage girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with him.

The letter, in an unusual touch, also included a link to a YouTube video of a 1985 David Letterman interview with rocker David Lee Roth, in which the Van Halen star discussed how the group used radios and runners to offer backstage passes to cute girls the band spotted from onstage.

“I urge the court to click this link for a very brief overview of the industry accepted, understood and agreed upon, by consent, definition of the fan and celebrity groupie experience,” the lawyer wrote.

Kelly, 52, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was charged in mid-July in a five count indictment with systematically recruiting women for activities that included child pornography, kidnapping, recklessly exposing women to sexually transmitted diseases, rape and underage sex.

He faces separate federal charges in Chicago for criminal sexual activity with five minors, producing child pornography and obstruction of justice. He was arrested in Chicago and ordered detained by a judge there before being transported to New York for his arraignment in Brooklyn on Friday.

Anton addressed his letter blaming the charges on “disgruntled groupies” to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, who is overseeing the case, although U.S. Magistrate Steven Tiscione is expected to conduct the arraignment.

“These groupies sought out Robert’s attention, even fought each other for it, voluntarily contacted him, came to his shows, pined to be with him,” the defense lawyer wrote. “Robert would spend his time and even become friends with and care about these groupies and fans who were dying to be with him.”

Anton said Kelly needed to be out of jail to make money to pay for his legal defense, and also criticized charges relating to one of the five “Jane Doe” victims described in the Brooklyn complaint — a woman paid to travel to a concert on Long Island who then allegedly contracted herpes from sex with the star.

The lawyer questioned whether prosecutors would be able to prove that the herpes came from Kelly. “Has the government done any of the necessary scientific medical testing to prove such a correlation or causation in this case?” Anton asked.

Kelly will enter a plea to the charges in addition to seeking bail at Friday’s arraignment in Brooklyn. His appearance follows his refusal to consent to arraignment on the New York charges while he was in Illinois.


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