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R. Kelly Arrested for Unpaid Child Support

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R. Kelly is pushing back against a $10.5 million lawsuit settlement against him, claiming that he could not address the lawsuit because he can’t read, among other reasons.

On Tuesday (January 16), legal documents were disclosed revealing R&B artist R. Kelly is challenging a $10.5 million settlement from a lawsuit that he lost in August 2023. Besides stating that he was unaware of it due to the number of lawsuits filed against him, Kelly claims he relies on his legal team to explain the lawsuits against him. “I rely on my lawyers to explain things to me because I cannot read or understand words beyond that of a grade-schooler,” Kelly said in the documents.

R. Kelly also reportedly argues in the documents that the co-defendant and former manager Donnell Russell should be solely responsible for paying the $10.5 million judgment that the court rendered. The lawsuit was filed by six women who claimed that in 2018, Kelly and Russell attempted to stop a screening of the documentary series Surviving R. Kelly in New York City, with Russell being accused of calling in a mass shooting threat to the movie theater where the screening was to take place. Kelly denied his involvement, saying that Russell wasn’t even his manager. “He did that for his own reasons,” the documents read.

Each woman in the lawsuit is slated to receive between $1.1 and $2.5 million from the judgment. These damages would be added to payments that the disgraced singer was ordered to pay out by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly from his royalties. R. Kelly is currently in prison in North Carolina and is expected to serve out sentences totaling up to thirty years after being convicted of sex trafficking and racketeering. Russell was sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of violent intimidation.

A statement from Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, offered some clarification to the reports. “We are absolutely pushing back on the $10.5 million default judgment that was entered against him without notice and without a sound legal justification,” the statement began. “It would be simplistic and silly to write that the basis for our motion to vacate the windfall judgment relates solely to his illiteracy (although he is in fact functionally illiterate per formalized testing). The more significant problem is that there was no legal basis to enter the default judgment on the merits.”