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R. Kelly's Lawyer Likens His Fight to Martin Luther King Jr's

'NYT' points out singer's legal woes are far from over
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2021 3:36 AM CDT
R. Kelly's Lawyer Likens His Fight to Martin Luther King Jr's
In this courtroom artist's sketch R. Kelly, left, listens during his trial in New York, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The 54-year-old Kelly has repeatedly denied accusations that he preyed on several alleged victims during a 30-year career highlighted by his mega hit "I Believe I Can Fly."?   (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

(Newser) – As far as closing arguments go, it was a comparison that got attention if nothing else. After a six-week sex-trafficking trial, a lawyer for R. Kelly wrapped things up by comparing his client to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday. The BBC reports attorney Deveraux Cannick explained Kelly led a playboy lifestyle that jibed with the sex symbol image his record label created for him. "Where's the crime in that?" he asked, while accusing the prosecution of trying to get witnesses to lie under oath. "You heard about a man who treated these women like gold. He bought them bags more expensive than cars."

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Cannick likened King's fight to be granted the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution to, as the New York Post puts it, Kelly "trying to hold the government to account by making prosecutors prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." As for where King comes in, Cannick Cannick shared lines from King's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, saying "Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press." He said King worked to make the government "be true to what's on paper," and "that's all Robert is trying to do."

As for how prosecutors wrapped things up, The AP reports Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes "gave an exhaustive recitation" of what the government says proves Kelly's guilt, referencing tactics from “the predator playbook" like isolating victims in hotel rooms or forcing them to adhere to degrading rules. "It is now time to hold the defendant responsible for the pain he inflicted on each of his victims," Geddes said. "It is now time for the defendant, Robert Kelly, to pay for his crimes. Convict him."

Regardless of what the jury decides, the New York Times suggests this is just the end of the beginning: Kelly "will remain in deep legal jeopardy. The attention will shift to Chicago, where he will face his third criminal trial on child pornography and obstruction charges, and he faces additional state charges in Minnesota and Illinois." (Read more R. Kelly stories.)

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