UPDATE (Jan. 16):

R. Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean has released a statement to XXL about the singer fighting back against the $10.5 million lawsuit. She says Kelly shouldn't be liable for another person's conduct. A man named Donnell Russell, who was allegedly R. Kelly's manager but proven not to be, is linked to the initial lawsuit.

"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 starts. "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."

The statement continues: "It is not even disputed that Kelly played no role in the events that formed the basis of that lawsuit and did not even know what allegedly occurred until after the fact. He cannot as a matter of law be liable for the intentional conduct of someone who was not even his employee."


R. Kelly has pushed back against a $10.5 million judgment made against him in a lawsuit because he apparently couldn't read it.

R. Kelly Doesn't Think He's Responsible for $10.5 Million Lawsuit

On Tuesday (Jan. 16), the disgraced R&B singer—who is currently serving out his more than 20-year sentence on sex trafficking and sex abuse charges in North Carolina—said that he wasn't aware of a $10.5 million lawsuit he lost back in August of 2023, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.

The lawsuit was filed by six women, who sued Kelly and his alleged former manager Donnell Russell for trying to shutter a screening of the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries in a New York City theater. The women claimed that Russell went so far as to call in a mass shooting threat to the theater in December of 2018.

The legal docs reportedly say that Kelly claimed to be unaware of the suit due to the numerous lawsuits and criminal cases he's juggling. R. Kelly also said he switched legal teams, and that the suit might have gotten lost in the shuffle. Additionally, he argued that he can't even read past a grade level, and relies entirely on his attorneys to communicate lawsuits to 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 regards to the lawsuit itself, Kelly argued Donnell Russell was never his manager. Kelly said he was unaware of the mass shooting threat made by Russell, and that if he did try to cancel the screening, "he did that for his own reasons."

Read More: 50 Cent Merges Diddy and R. Kelly's Faces In Odd Photo

R. Kelly's Attorneys Claim R&B Singer Can't Read

This surprisingly isn't the first time Kells has said he can't read. Back in 2019, as Kelly's criminal cases began to snowball, the R&B singer skipped a court hearing that resulted in him losing a civil lawsuit. The suit was filed by an alleged underage victim of Kelly's sexual abuse. His attorneys at the time, Zaid Abdallah and Raed Shalabi, responded to the judgment by reportedly claiming in legal documents that R. Kelly couldn't read and that's why he missed the hearing. They also said he was in California's Cook County Jail at the time.

As reported by TMZ, the documents claimed Kelly, “suffers from a learning disability that adversely affects his ability to read … in essence he cannot.”

Kelly's legal team asked the court to vacate the decision as a result.

Read More: No, That Is Not R. Kelly Performing a Concert in Prison

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