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R. Kelly's lawyers move to dismiss civil sex abuse suit

By Sommer Brokaw
Attorneys for singer R. Kelly, shown here in 2013, filed a motion to dismiss a civil sexual abuse suit against him. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/03a64234487a9b062dfa80beb8d867ee/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Attorneys for singer R. Kelly, shown here in 2013, filed a motion to dismiss a civil sexual abuse suit against him. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | License Photo

June 27 (UPI) -- Singer R. Kelly's lawyers have asked a Chicago judge to throw out a civil suit alleging sexual abuse on the grounds it was filed too late.

Attorneys for the 52-year-old R&B star, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, filed the motion to dismiss Wednesday in Chicago's Cook County Circuit Court. They argued the statute of limitations had expired.

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The civil lawsuit was filed on Feb. 21, but attorneys said the Kelly had ignored court summonses. Judge Moira Susan Johnson had initially found in favor of the plaintiff by default because of the ignored summonses, but Kelly obtained new attorneys, who argued he missed the court appearances because he can't read.

The plaintiff is one of four accusers in Kelly's criminal case, which was filed a day after the civil suit. Kelly was first charged in February with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse between 1998 and 2010. He was released after three nights in jail on $1 million bond.

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Earlier this month, Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 new charges related to the sexual assault of a teenage fan in 2010.

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Attorneys allege in the civil suit that in 1998 Kelly sexual abused the plaintiff, who was a minor at the time, after an entourage member invited her to his former studio. The woman didn't realize she had been abused until she went through therapy several years later.

Defense lawyers argue the women only had until 2002 to file any claim for damages.

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However, state law says a person has up to 20 years from "the date the person abused discovers" their abuse to file civil litigation based on childhood sexual abuse.

Plaintiff's attorney, Jeffrey Deutschman, said Thursday the motion to dismiss was a delay tactic.

"Kelly's lawyers have a right to do this," Deutschman said after a brief hearing at the Daley Center Thursday morning. But the motion to dismiss "just makes [the civil case] go longer."

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Kelly's attorneys also filed a motion earlier this month to stay the civil case until the criminal case is finished.

Johnson had not ruled on either motion.

The next hearing in the civil case is set for late August.

Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood said Wednesday he would like to set Kelly's criminal trial for next year. The next hearing in the criminal case is set for Aug. 15.

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The motion to dismiss the civil case came the same day that Cook County prosecutors turned over an alleged child porn video from two decades ago to R. Kelly's defense team.

Flood put a protective order on the tape, according to CNN, and warned against leaks.

"If there's any violation of this protective order, I'm going to impose sanctions, severe sanctions," Flood said. "I just want everybody on notice with that. Plus, there could be criminal implication to violation of this protective order."

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