R. Kelly Requests to Have STD Charges Dropped in Sex Trafficking Trial

As R. Kelly's sex trafficking trial is set to begin, the singer wants the court to throw out charges for knowingly exposing sexual partners to herpes.

R. Kelly with Lawyer

Photo by Antonio Perez via Getty Images

R. Kelly with Lawyer

Over two years after R. Kelly was charged with abusing women and underage girls for almost two decades, the first phase of the R&B singer’s sex trafficking trial.

With jury selection underway, TMZ reports R. Kelly’s lawyers have asked the court to throw out charges claiming he knowingly exposed two people to herpes. According to new legal documents obtained by the outlet, the singer’s team has argued that herpes doesn’t meet the definition of a sexually transmitted infection as laid out by the New York State Department of Health, and therefore charges should be dropped.

“To allow the government to move forward with those counts would be to allow a clear mischaracterization and interpretation of the application of the statute, considering the statute clearly does not incorporate herpes,” Thomas Farinella, a lawyer for Kelly, wrote.

The Associated Press reports hundreds of potential jurors appeared in the Brooklyn federal courthouse Monday, with twelve jurors and six alternates expected to be picked to sit through the forthcoming trial.

The move to dismiss the charges comes less than two weeks before the trial is set to begin on August 18. R. Kelly is facing charges of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, forced labor, bribery, and enticement. Since 2019, the 54-year-old Chicago native has been held in custody at Metropolitan Correctional Center while awaiting trial. 

This is Kelly’s second trial for sex related charges. He was previously acquitted in 2008 on child pornography charges. Kelly is also facing state and federal charges in Illinois.

Latest in Music