What R Kelly's lawyers will argue in a bid for him to avoid decades in jail

R. Kelly appears during a hearing in Chicago in 2019.

When it comes to court cases in the United States, the detail is normally public long before any hearing. Legal submissions are lodged in advance and available for reading. Not so in R Kelly’s case. His lawyers have argued to keep the detail under seal, citing the highly personal nature of their arguments.

As part of his sentencing mitigation they are seeking to use the abuse in his own life to explain the abuse he has inflicted on others.

The singer is to be sentenced for racketeering, sex with multiple underage girls and a plan to bribe an official to get a fake ID for the then 15-year-old singer Aaliyah, so they could be married.

His legal teams are seeking to use the abuse he suffered at the hands of a sister and a family friend to explain his crimes.

As Steve Greenberg, one of Kelly’s lawyers, told the Chicago Tribune recently, they hope the judge will consider that “someone who has been so severely sexually abused as a child will often become an abuser themselves”.

Kelly is a sex addict, Mr Greenberg added, not a paedophile who is pathologically inclined to abuse children.

That is an argument prosecutors will seek to undermine as they push for a sentence of at least 25 years as punishment for what federal prosecutors called “long and pervasive history of enticing children to engage in sexual activity”.

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