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New York STD laws are unconstitutional, so charges against R. Kelly should be dropped, lawyer says

Kelly’s lead defense attorney filed a motion Monday asserting that two New York laws are overly broad and, effectively, prohibit anyone with an STD from engaging in sexual intercourse.

R. Kelly walks out of Cook County Jail with his defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, after posting $100,000 bail, Monday afternoon, Feb. 25, 2019. The R&B singer has entered a not guilty plea to all 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse he faces in Cook County.
R. Kelly walks out of Cook County Jail with his defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, after posting $100,000 bail, Monday afternoon, Feb. 25, 2019. The R&B singer has entered a not guilty plea to all 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse he faces in Cook County.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

R. Kelly’s lawyers are arguing that federal racketeering and human trafficking charges filed against him in New York should be dismissed because they rely on state laws concerning the transmission of sexual diseases, which are unconstitutional.

In a seven-page motion filed Monday in the Eastern District of New York, Steve Greenberg, Kelly’s lead defense attorney, said that two state laws — New York Public Health Law section 2307 and New York Penal Law section 120.20 — are unconstitutional because they are overly broad and, effectively, prohibit anyone with an STD from engaging in sexual intercourse.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have alleged 12 instances of Kelly violating the federal racketeering law, though the New York state laws are invoked in only two.

Prosecutors in New York have also charged Kelly with four counts of violating the Mann Act — a 110-year-old federal law meant to protect women and girls from being transported across state lines for illicit purposes.

Greenberg argues those four counts should be tossed out, too, because they rely on the same two state laws.

Since last summer, Kelly has been facing federal indictments in Chicago and Brooklyn, in addition to earlier local charges in Cook County and more recent charges in Minnesota. The federal case in Chicago alleges child pornography and obstruction of justice, while the feds in Brooklyn have alleged racketeering and violations of the Mann Act.