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R. Kelly’s Lawyer During Closing Arguments: ‘Kinky Sex’ Is Not a Crime

R. Kelly’s defense delivered their closing argument Thursday in the singer’s Brooklyn trial on federal racketeering charges.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Kelly’s lawyer Deveraux Cannick used his closing arguments to make excuses for Kelly’s behavior, even though it was not what Kelly was on trial for. Cannick acknowledged that some of the singer’s relationships with allegedly underaged girls were of the “May to October” variety; the saying — used for couples with a significant age difference — is actually “May-December.”  

Cannick also defended Kelly’s bedroom activities, and how the singer preferred his girlfriends call him “Daddy.” “The former Vice President Mike Pence called his wife ‘mother,'” Cannick said, later adding, “Some people just like kinky sex. There’s not a crime in kinky sex.” (Kelly is facing federal charges connected to racketeering and sex trafficking, not “kinky sex.”)

“[Kelly] told everyone he has multiple girlfriends, and asked each and every one of them their age,” Cannick added. “He said, ‘This is my lifestyle and you can step into it or not.’”

Cannick instead framed the federal trial as a constitutional battle between liberty and injustice, with Kelly in the middle. “This is a great country. Our constitution is most sacred,” Cannick said (via the New York Times). “However, without people of good will, of a sense of fairness and courage, our constitution would be nothing but hollow words.”

At one point during closing arguments, the lawyer also referenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while comparing the civil rights movement to the decision the jury faced regarding Kelly’s verdict. “See, unlike Dr. King and those who were like-minded, you don’t have to worry about atrocities. You just have to be courageous and fair,” he said.

The government, Cannick argued, allowed its witnesses to take the stand and lie in order to secure a guilty verdict. “Getting a conviction of R. Kelly is a big deal,” he said. “They gotta try to bring home the bacon.” He accused the government’s witnesses — many of them Kelly’s alleged victims — of being coached for 40 to 50 hours in order to sharpen their stories, testimony that had changed since they first were interviewed by investigators.

By contrast, federal prosecutors laid out their entire case against Kelly in a six-hour closing argument that spanned two days and focused on every criminal count the singer faces.

“For decades, the defendant recruited and groomed women, girls and boys for his own sexual gratification. With the help of his inner circle, he slowly isolated his victims, set rules and exacted punishment,” prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes told the jury.

““It is time to hold the defendant responsible for the pain he inflicted on each of his victims: Aaliyah, Stephanie, Sonja, Jerhonda, Jane and Faith,” she added. “It is now time for the defendant to pay for his crimes. Convict him.”

Following the defense’s closing arguments, the prosecution will deliver their rebuttal, after which the jury will begin deliberating the case as soon as Friday.

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