R. Kelly's Lawyer Argues Girlfriends' Lavish Lives Discredits Predator Accusations

In his flamboyant closing arguments, R. Kelly's lawyer Deveraux Cannick concluded the singer's New York sex trafficking trial by insisting that Kelly was not a predator because of his victims' "lavish lifestyle."

Cannick began by proclaiming that Kelly is fighting for his constitutional rights in court, comparing the alleged sexual predator to Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement. The attorney quoted from King's famous I've been to the Mountaintop speech.

He went on to say there was no evidence Kelly's accusers were made to do anything against their will. Cannick said Kelly's girlfriends stayed with him to reap the benefits of travel, shopping sprees and expensive dinners.

"He gave them a lavish lifestyle," he said. "That's not what a predator is supposed to do."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

R. Kelly Court
In his closing arguments, R. Kelly's lawyer Deveraux Cannick said the singer is fighting for his constitutional rights. This photo from Friday May 9, 2008, shows R. Kelly arriving for the first day of jury selection in his child pornography trial at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast, File/AP Photo

A judge began instructing the jury at R. Kelly's sex trafficking trial on the law Friday after it heard a prosecutor give a fiery rebuttal to the defense's closing arguments, which portrayed him as a victim of false accusations.

Kelly "believed the music, the fame and the celebrity meant he could do whatever he wanted," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Shihata said in federal court in Brooklyn.

But, she added, "He's not a genius, he's a criminal. A predator." She added that his alleged victims "aren't groupies or gold diggers. They're human beings."

After Shihata finished, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly started her final instructions in anticipation jurors would get the case later in the day.

The 54-year-old Kelly, perhaps best known for the 1996 smash hit I Believe I Can Fly, has pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges accusing him of abusing women, girls and boys for more than two decades.

He is also charged with multiple violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines "for any immoral purpose."

Prosecutors said their evidence proves how Kelly, with the help of some loyal members of his entourage, used tactics from "the predator playbook" to sexually exploit his victims.

The tactics included isolating them in hotel rooms or his recording studio, subjecting them to degrading rules like making them call him "Daddy" and shooting video recordings—some seen by the jury at trial—of them having sex with him and others as a means to control them, prosecutors said.

In his closing, defense attorney Deveraux Cannick told the jury that testimony by several accusers was full of lies, and that "the government let them lie."