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A music writer who has spent years sounding the alarm about sexual misconduct committed by R. Kelly is reportedly fighting an attempt to force him to testify at the singer’s current trial.
According to reports, attorneys working on behalf of the Jim DeRogatis have submitted a request to U.S. District Judge Harry Lienenweber to shut down a subpoena sent to their client to testify at the disgraced singer’s federal trial. In the filing that was revealed on Tuesday (September 6th), the lawyers claim that the subpoena is an attempt to “put his newsgathering on trial.” The subpoena was issued by lawyers for Kelly’s co-defendant and former business manager, Derrel McDavid last month.
“Virtually all knowledge that DeRogatis has that may be relevant to the indictment in this case, if there is any such information, necessarily derives from his third party sources with direct knowledge of the facts and therefore would be inadmissible hearsay,” DeRogatis’ attorneys wrote in the motion. The filing was also filed on behalf of New York Magazine, which DeRogatis currently writes for. The lawyers for McDavid haven’t disclosed what kind of questions they would ask, but court documents show that they had questions about how a draft of DeRogatis’ 2019 book Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly got into the hands of prosecutors.
DeRogatis has extensively reported on the singer’s misconduct, and the video of Kelly having sex with a then-14-year-old girl was sent to him in 2001 anonymously while he was at the Chicago Sun-Time. He also had previously testified at Kelly’s 2008 trial but refused to answer questions while on the stand citing the U.S. Constitution’s free press protections as well as an Illinois law that shields the rights of reporters. The lawyers for DeRogatis have also cited that their client might be subject to “harassment or intimidation,” and detailed how a window at the writer’s home in the Chicago area was shot out after his reporting for the 2008 trial.
Proceedings are set to resume on Wednesday, where Judge Lienenweber is expected to make a decision on DeRogatis’ motion.