The day before R. Kelly faced his long-awaited trial on racketeering charges in Brooklyn federal court, his lawyers made their final bid to dismiss the case. Among other bizarre, typo-laden arguments, they claimed the disgraced R&B singer should not be held criminally responsible for transmitting herpes to a minor because it is not life-threatening.
In a memo filed Monday night in response to the government’s opposition to their motion to dismiss the nine-count indictment against Kelly, the singer’s defense lawyers argue that herpes does not fall under a public health law’s definition of an “acute, bacterial venereal disease.” The memo adds that if HIV is not considered a serious injury because “it no longer poses a grave risk of death”—and thus its transmission is not criminally liable— then “herpes should not be judge [sic] differently.”
Brooklyn prosecutors allege Kelly knowingly exposed at least one minor to a sexually transmitted infection that they subsequently contracted in 2015. Kelly’s lawyers also argue that count one—which alleges Kelly engaged in a conspiracy to bribe and kidnap women and girls—“should be dismissed because the alleged violations of law occurred outside the proscribed statutory period of time such claims could be made.”