R. Kelly's Lawyer Asks Court to Provide Transcripts for Free Since Singer is Broke

One of R&B star R. Kelly's lawyer asked the judge at a hearing Tuesday for court transcripts to be provided for free because the singer has no money.

Devereaux Cannick, one of Kelly's lawyers, said the musician is broke because he'd been unable to work for two years, and asked for the transcripts to be provided at no charge.

"His funds are depleted," Cannick said of Kelly.

Kelly awaits a sex-trafficking trial that starts in earnest next week, and has remained in prison since his arrest on multiple federal charges in 2019. In addition to the hearings in New York, Kelly is also facing sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

R. Kelly leaves court
Singer R. Kelly's lawyer have asked for court transcripts to be provided for free as Kelly's funds have been depleted after being in prison for two years. Kelly turns to leave after appearing at a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Antonio Perez/Pool via Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly in New York made a series of rulings to narrow down what evidence can be shown to jurors. She mostly ruled for prosecutors but said some evidence will be excluded because it is too similar to other parts of the case aimed at showing Kelly engaged in racketeering in pursuit of women and girls he could abuse.

The Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling R&B singer is accused of leading an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex, sometimes at concerts and other venues. He has pleaded not guilty to racketeering, bribery, coercion, enticement and sex trafficking.

Cannick told the judge Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, needs to be measured for new clothing because he's gained so much weight in jail.

"It's going to be a long trial," Donnelly said after prosecutors outlined their plans to call numerous witnesses, including women who say they were sexually abused, physically abused and coerced to do things for Kelly's pleasure.

The judge said the witnesses who allege abuse can testify with only their first name given to jurors, who will sit in the gallery rather than the jury box because of a reconfigured courtroom tied to coronavirus restrictions.

Donnelly also said she will generally not allow questions aimed at revealing if any of the women have had mental health treatment. She said she will not allow the jurors to be told that one witness had worked as an exotic dancer years after she said she was abused.

Also likely to be excluded from the trial is any testimony about religious beliefs or that some of the women were directed to have sex with one another, the judge said.

Prospective jurors have already filled out questionnaires aimed at ensuring they have no biases that would affect their judgment. They will begin answering questions next Monday.

Kelly, is known for work including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped in the Closet, a multipart tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

The judge in New York ruled last week the public and the media will be banned from the courtroom after 12 news organizations asked that six reporters be permitted inside because watching a portion of the courtroom on monitors in two overflow rooms was insufficient and might not constitute an open proceeding. She cited the coronavirus restrictions.

As he left the courthouse Tuesday, Cannick, one of Kelly's lawyers, was asked if the closing of the courtroom might be grounds for appeal if his client is convicted.

He smiled and said, "If there was a conviction, we'd use every error that was made" in an appeal.

R. Kelly in court
R. Kelly gained weight and lost money while he awaits a sex-trafficking trial that starts next week, his lawyers said Tuesday at a court hearing. In this September 17, 2019, file photo, the R&B star appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File