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Prosecutors drop seven of 21 charges against Kelly

March 01, 2004|From Associated Press

CHICAGO — Prosecutors have dropped seven of 21 charges against R&B singer R. Kelly in his child pornography case, in what they described as a routine pretrial move.

Kelly was arrested in June 2002 after a videotape surfaced allegedly showing him having sex with an underage girl. He remains charged with 14 counts of child pornography, and has pleaded not guilty.

The seven counts dropped involved charges of soliciting a minor to appear in child pornography, said Jerry Lawrence, spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.

"It's a matter of course in cases like this that we'd drop charges right before trial," Lawrence said Friday.

At a December court hearing, defense lawyer Edward Genson had moved to dismiss those counts, arguing that the statute Kelly supposedly violated was enacted after the tape allegedly was shot.

A statement released Friday by the public relations firm that represents Kelly called the decision to drop the seven charges "the first official acknowledgment of the weakness of their case." Genson said he had no comment.

No trial date has been set. The next hearing is April 2.

Kelly, whose first name is Robert, also has been charged with child pornography in Florida. The 37-year-old singer is known for hits ranging from the Grammy-winning "I Believe I Can Fly" to sexually charged material such as "Ignition," off his recent double-platinum album, "Chocolate Factory."

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