BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) — R. Kelly took a swing Friday at the top count of his federal indictment, accusing the government of trying to push sexual assault allegations that are too old to prosecute.
One of four separate criminal cases against the singer, the government charged Kelly last year in Brooklyn with violating federal anti-racketeering law. The amended indictment puts Kelly at the head of a so-called criminal enterprise, saying he directed members of an entourage to recruit a sex ring of young women and underage girls.
Kelly has pleaded not guilty and wants the court now to dismiss Count 1.
“Robert Kelly is not an enterprise,” the motion from Chicago defense attorney Steve Greenberg states.
Accusing the government trying to shoe-horn six Jane Does into conspiracy charge when only one of these women is alleged to have been trafficked,
Greenberg argues that, “RICO was not designed as a means to punish a single individual for his own wrongful actions.”
“RICO is only being used in this case in an effort to subvert various statutes of limitations,” the motion continues.
Questioning why prosecutors have not gone after co-conspirators, Greenberg also notes that the indictment is “completely silent” regarding members of the entourage said to have furthered the enterprise.
“First, the common purpose alleged – ‘to promote Kelly’s music and the R. Kelly brand,’ and ‘to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly’ — fails to pass muster,” Greenberg wrote.
“It clearly is not unlawful to promote music or a brand, and the Superseding Indictment is silent on how any other individual benefited from Mr. Kelly alleging engaging in sexual activity,” he added. “If no others benefited, then the only member of the enterprise is Mr. Kelly.”
Racketeering is one of more than a dozen charges Kelly faces in Brooklyn. Greenberg’s motion also digs at a bribery count stemming from a fake ID that allowed Kelly to marry then-15-year-old Aaliyah.
The lawyer said there was no mention the enterprise had been part of the alleged bribe.
The “Trapped in the Closet” singer has a long spring ahead of him, with separate federal and state charges ongoing in Chicago, plus yet another state charge in Minnesota.
Allegations of sexual abuse, including of minors, have dogged the Grammy winner for decades.
Jury selection in his Brooklyn trial is set for July 7, while the Chicago federal trial is scheduled to kick off April 27.