Martin Luther King Jr.'s name got dragged into R. Kelly's federal trial on multiple sex crimes in a pretty outrageous way -- his attorney says the singer should be acquitted because he's just like MLK.
Yeah, try to catch your breath. Closing arguments are going down Thursday in the federal court in Brooklyn, NY -- and defense attorney Deveraux Cannick drew the comparison by telling the jury Kelly is demanding prosecutors prove he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt ... the same way Dr. King fought for Constitutional rights.
He went on to quote a part of MLK's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, declaring ... "Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press."
His point seemed to be that Dr. King wanted the government to uphold the Constitution, and Kelly's doing the same ... in his sex crimes trial.
Mind you, Kelly's attorneys only called a handful of witnesses to the stand during the trial -- most of whom merely stated they hadn't seen Kelly doing anything illegal. The singer himself chose not to testify, although that's not uncommon.
Cannick also claimed prosecutors encouraged witnesses to lie on the stand.
The jury will soon begin deliberations. Kelly faces 10 years to life if he's convicted.