R&B star R. Kelly gained weight and lost money while he awaits a sex-trafficking trial that starts in earnest next week, his lawyers said Tuesday (August 3) at a court hearing. The revelations came as U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly in New York made a series of rulings to narrow down what evidence can be shown to jurors.
She mostly ruled for prosecutors but said some evidence will be excluded because it is too similar to other parts of the case aimed at showing Kelly engaged in racketeering in pursuit of women and girls he could abuse. The Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling R&B singer is accused of leading an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex, sometimes at concerts and other venues. He has pleaded not guilty to racketeering, bribery, coercion, enticement and sex trafficking.
Devereaux Cannick, one of his lawyers, told the judge that Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, needs to be measured for new clothing because he’s gained so much weight in jail. And he asked that court transcripts be provided at no cost because Kelly has been unable to work for two years. “His funds are depleted,” Cannick said of a client who left the courtroom after the hearing with his hands cuffed. “It’s going to be a long trial,” Donnelly said after prosecutors outlined their plans to call numerous witnesses, including women who say they were sexually abused, physically abused and coerced to do things for Kelly’s pleasure.