The indictment alleges that Kelly, 53, transported one of his victims across state lines to engage in sexual activity in violation of a 1943 New York Public Health Law, which makes it a misdemeanor for a person infected with a venereal disease to have sex with another person.
The defense argued that the statute is overly broad and unconstitutional for banning people with infectious venereal diseases from engaging in consensual sex and criminalizing private sexual acts.
Judge Ann Donnelly rejected the defense’s position, ruling that “public health is a legitimate state interest” and that the law rightfully penalizes those who have unprotected sex knowing they have sexually transmitted diseases without informing their partners.
The defense also unsuccessfully lobbied the judge to dismiss a racketeering count, arguing that prosecutors hadn’t proven the alleged essential elements of the crime.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner — whose given name is Robert Kelly — is charged with more than a dozen criminal counts, including sex-trafficking, racketeering and coercion related to six women and girls.
In a separate Chicago indictment, Kelly is charged with producing child pornography and destroying evidence.
The singer is currently locked up in the Windy City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center after losing three requests for release amid the coronavirus outbreak sweeping through prisons.
“We’re not getting the results we believe that law dictates and mandates,” said a member of Kelly’s defense team, Doug Anton, in response to the judge’s decision. “It leaves open the possibility of appeal.”