CHICAGO (CN) – Singer R. Kelly asked an Illinois judge late Wednesday to dismiss a sexual abuse lawsuit against him, claiming it is barred by a two-year statute of limitations.
Heather Williams says in her lawsuit that Kelly stopped her on a Chicago street in 1998 when she was 16, inviting her to his studio.
The R&B singer began sexually assaulting her after that, Williams claims, repeating a pattern similar to the allegations of other women.
Kelly argues in his motion to dismiss that since Williams turned 18 in 2000, she only had two years to bring her lawsuit and cannot do so 19 years later.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Moira Johnson granted a default judgment in favor of Williams in April because Kelly never answered her complaint, but vacated it two weeks later when his attorneys claimed he didn’t understand the summons sent to him because he can’t read.
The judge gave Kelly 30 days to answer.
At a hearing last week, Williams’ attorney Jeffrey Deutschman argued that a motion to stay the case until Kelly’s criminal proceedings were over, filed on the 30th day, should not count as an answer to the complaint. Johnson agreed to give the musician one more week to file an answer.
Although Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008, rumors that he sexually abused minor girls resurfaced with the airing of Lifetime’s docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”
The show prompted Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to reach out publicly, asking any alleged victims to come forward. Four women, three under the age of 17 at the time of their alleged abuse, did.
The singer appeared in criminal court Wednesday, where prosecutors handed over a video described as “pornographic” that allegedly showed him with a minor girl.
Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood, who is presiding over the criminal case, said in court that he wanted to set a trial for early 2020. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
On top of his civil and criminal legal troubles, Kelly has also been battling his ex-wife over child support payments, spending time in jail for owing her $161,000.
A hearing for the criminal case is set for Aug. 15, while the next date is yet to be determined for the civil case.