CHICAGO, IL – R. Kelly has been given a second chance to defend himself in a sexual abuse lawsuit. A judge has vacated a default judgment against the embattled singer, who originally lost the civil suit last month after failing to respond to a summons or show up in court.
The plaintiff, Heather Williams, has accused Kelly of abusing her when she was 16 years old. She is one of four alleged victims at the center of a separate criminal case against the disgraced artist.
Williams’ civil suit was filed on February 21, one day before Kelly was charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse. Raed Shalabi and Zaid Abdalla, Kelly’s new attorneys, have claimed he didn’t respond to the suit because he’s illiterate.
“They knew charges were being brought,” Shalabi told reporters Wednesday (May 8), according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Mr. Kelly believes the motive is money. He’s obviously going to be denying the allegations, and that’s our position at this point.”
Jeffrey Deutschman, Williams’ lawyer, has refuted those claims.
“I didn’t know there was going to be an indictment coming,” he said. “My client had a case and we filed it. We filed it as fast as we could, pretty much because there were potential statute of limitations issues.”
Kelly is scheduled to return to court on June 19.