Former American recording artist Robert Sylvester Kelly, professionally known as R. Kelly, has filed an appeal against his conviction of federal sex crimes in New York.
Kelly, who is already serving a federal 30-year jail term after three counts of production of child pornography and three counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity in a federal trial in 2022, was also found guilty of sexual molestation of a minor and sentenced to additional 20 years imprisonment in February 2023 by the U.S District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber.
R. Kelly is asking the Appeal Court to reverse his convictions or, at a minimum, order a new trial.
However, in a new development, the 56-year-old singer, in his appeal, listed some reasons why his conviction should be reversed.
He argued that the government did not meet its burden of proof in court, despite a jury convicting him on all counts.
His lawyers also have specific gripes about the jury and some of the evidence prosecutors were allowed to submit during the trial.
They claimed that not less than four of the jurors selected have since admitted prejudging his guilt before handing down the official verdict. And also alleged that two of them had watched the “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries, and should never have been seated on the jury.
Kelly, on allegations of grooming and molesting underage girls, claimed that some were at least 18 years old when he met and engaged them in sexual relationships despite prosecutors’ insistence the alleged grooming started while they were still minors.
In cases where he is alleged to have met with actual minors, Kelly’s team claimed he was misled by the girls, who did not give him their real ages at the time.
On some of the evidence admitted during the trial, his lawyers argued that details about his sex life, conduct and behaviour with his former partners or exes, 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.