R. Kelly’s latest legal defense? That he can’t read.

His attorneys are now claiming that Kelly failed to make his mandatory court appearance last week because he couldn't read the court papers

R Kelly can't read argues attorney
R. Kelly

    Because he failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance last week, R. Kelly found himself on the losing side of a civil lawsuit brought against him by one of his alleged sexual abuse victims. The woman had accused the R&B singer of assaulting her in the ’90s when she was underage, and was seeking $500,000 in restitution.

    Now, Kelly and his lawyers are doing whatever it takes to reverse the ruling, and things are getting pretty desperate. Attorneys for the singer claim that Kelly’s been so “overwhelmed” lately with his legal troubles that he doesn’t even remember being served court papers regarding his mandatory appearance.

    It gets even better.

    As TMZ points out, his lawyers Zaid Abdallah and Raed Shalabi are arguing that the signed court papers shouldn’t actually count due to Kelly’s supposed reading disability. Kelly “suffers from a learning disability that adversely affects his ability to read,” they claimed in a filed legal brief, adding, “in essence he cannot.”


    The reasoning here is that because Kelly couldn’t properly read and understand the served court documents, he couldn’t properly defend himself in that moment. His signature means nothing. The disgraced singer’s legal representatives are now asking that a judge vacate the ruling made on the civil lawsuit and that Kelly be given another chance to clear his name.

    Kelly is already facing 40-70 years in prison stemming from charges of aggravated sexual abuse brought against him back in February. His lawyer in that case, Steve Greenberg, is also fervently defending his client’s innocence despite the mountain of evidence proving otherwise. “He’s a rock star, he doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex,” Greenberg previously told reporters.

    These “overwhelming” legal woes and accusations have followed Kelly for decades, but have only recently drawn especially close scrutiny following the airing of Lifetime’s damning Surviving R. Kelly docu-series. A follow-up special, The Impact, is set to premiere on the network on May 4th.


    Lawsuits and prison time aside, fallout from the abuse scandal has also affected the R&B artist’s bank account: Court documents recently revealed that Kelly has less than $700 to his name.

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