We know that it's challenging to think back to the Before Times, but sometimes, it's worth it.
In 2019, R. Kelly was arrested on sex trafficking charges after years of accusations of running an abusive sex cult and preying upon minors.
In court, the disgraced rapper's attorney is using an agonizingly bad argument to try to persuade the jury.
With Kelly facing ten years to life if convicted, his lawyer is comparing him to Martin Luther King. What?
Late this week, jurors began their deliberations in the trial of R. Kelly.
We have all heard, read, and been haunted by the horror stories told by women who described how he seduced, abused, and confined them.
Additionally, his former associates have come forward with evidence reportedly showing him engaged in sex crimes.
To the collective outrage of every reasonable person who has heard it. R. Kelly's attorney has compared him to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This wasn't in a press release. This was at his trial while addressing the jury.
As you can imagine, the defense's argument was that the jury should acquit the rapper.
At the federal court in Brookly, defense attorney Deveraux Cannick drew this eye-popping comparison.
He argues that the prosecution did not prove Kelly's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kelly demands that they do, he said, which puts him on par with Dr. King fighting for civil rights.
That painful and inexplicable analogy did not stop there.
Cannick then took it so far as to quote a portion of Dr. King's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech.
He spoke of the freedom of speech, the right to assembly, and the freedom of the press.
It's not immediately clear what those Constitutional rights could have to do with an abusive sex cult.
But apparently, we're meant to conclude that R. Kelly is being persecuted.
This may actually tie into a small but toxically vocal concept that Kelly and his diehard fans have tried to push in recent years.
There are some very bad people in this world who do horrible things to others.
Some of these people are famous. Some of them are wealthy, beloved, and talented.
A lot of them are men. These wrongdoers can came from any and all races, which means that they are sometimes Black.
Unfortunately, Kelly is not the first accused sexual predator to claim that he is being persecuted for his race or other reasons.
It is a sad fact that many Black men in history have been framed and punished purely because they were easy targets, or someone wanted them silenced.
But it is especially twisted and disturbing to see someone make that claim about R. Kelly.
Needless to say, a man accused of targeting dozens of Black women (and especially underage Black girls) does not fit the profile of a lynching victim.
Kelly's victims who have come forward, and many of his most outspoken critics, are Black women.
It seems that his defense attorney is hoping that the jury will ignore what they know and embrace conspiracy theories that serve only R. Kelly.
It is difficult to describe the trial strategy employed by Kelly's defense.
He himself has not testified, which is very normal in this sort of trial.
Doing so would open him up to cross-examination, and no ethical defense attorney can advise their client to lie under oath.
But Kelly's side has only called a small number of witnesses to the stand.
The general function of these defense witnesses has simply been to offer testimony that they had not seen him commit any crimes.
In other words ... they're not witnesses at all. It's hard to say how persuasive that could possibly be.
While R. Kelly awaits the outcome of his federal sex trafficking trial, he has other issues on his plate.
Obviously, many prosecutors would like to go after him for alleged crimes that he committed in different places.
But a man named Kenny Bryant is trying to sue Kelly for allegedly breaking up his marriage, and wants to depose him soon.