Home Editor’s Pick Lawyer who compared R. Kelly to Martin Luther King couldn't convince jury

Lawyer who compared R. Kelly to Martin Luther King couldn’t convince jury

imageWorld6 minutes ago (Sep 27, 2021 09:27PM ET)

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(C) Reuters. Defense lawyer Deveraux Cannick looks on after R. Kelly was found guilty of all charges in his sex abuse trial at Brooklyn’s Federal District Court in New York, U.S., September 27, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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By Karen Sloan

(Reuters) – The late addition of a lawyer with experience handling high-profile clients wasn’t enough to help singer R. Kelly beat charges that he sexually abused women for decades.

Attorney Deveraux Cannick, who joined Kelly’s legal team just a few months before the long-awaited trial, argued in court that his accusers were former fans who became disgruntled after falling out of his favor, and that his sexual relationships were consensual. He made headlines for comparing Kelly to the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

A federal jury in Brooklyn on Monday convicted Kelly of sex trafficking, after prosecutors spent nearly six weeks making the case that the singer used his fame to exploit women and have sex with underage girls.

Outside the courthouse Monday, Cannick told reporters that the defense team was “disappointed” by the outcome and would explore options for an appeal. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

In June, Kelly fired two of his lawyers amid internal tension on his legal team. During a hearing, former Kelly defense attorney Steve Greenberg said he clashed with two other members of the defense team, who “can’t deal with stress.”

Cannick made his first appearance in the Kelly case on June 22, according to court filings.

He is part of five-attorney firm Aiello & Cannick, based in Queens. According to the firm’s website, his clients have included Saikou Diallo, the father of Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times by New York City police officers in 1999. He helped secure the state’s largest wrongful death settlement at the time.

Cannick, who early in his career worked in the Bronx County District Attorney’s office, specializes in criminal defense and civil rights cases. In 2019, he defended a man accused of kidnapping Chicago rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, who Cannick claimed staged his own abduction in order to generate publicity. Cannick’s client was found guilty and sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Lawyer who compared R. Kelly to Martin Luther King couldn’t convince jury

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