Friday Sep 29, 2023
Friday Sep 29, 2023

R. Kelly guilty of multiple child pornography

2022 Sep 15, 10:11, CHICAGO
Musician R. Kelly, center, leaves the Daley Center after a hearing in his child support case on May 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo)

A federal jury in Chicago convicted R. Kelly on Wednesday of producing child pornography and enticing girls for sex after a monthlong trial in his hometown, delivering another legal blow to the Grammy Award singer who was once one of the world’s biggest R&B stars.

Prosecutors won convictions on six of the 13 counts against him, with many of the convictions carrying long mandatory sentences. But the government lost the marquee count — that Kelly and his then-business manager successfully rigged his state child pornography trial in 2008.

Both of his co-defendants, including longtime business manager Derrel McDavid — who had told jurors that testimony from four Kelly accusers had led him to change his mind about Kelly’s believability — were acquitted of all charges.

The trial was, in ways, a do-over of Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial, with a key video critical to both. Kelly, who shed tears of joy when jurors acquitted him in 2008, gave a thumbs-up sign to spectators after Wednesday’s verdict but otherwise showed little emotion.

Before Kelly was returned to federal lockup, McDavid hugged Kelly, who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a superstar.

Asked by reporters later outside court how Kelly felt after the verdict, his lead attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said: “Mr. Kelly is used to bad news.”

The verdict comes months after a federal judge in New York sentenced Kelly to 30 years in prison in June for racketeering and sex trafficking. Based on that sentence, the 55-year-old won’t be eligible for release until he is around 80.

And two sexual misconduct trials still await Kelly — one in Minnesota and one in state court in Chicago.

After deliberating for 11 hours over two days, jurors convicted Kelly of three counts each of producing child pornography and enticement, while acquitting him of obstruction of justice, one count of production of child porn and three counts of receiving child porn.

Among the charges McDavid was acquitted of was conspiring with Kelly to rig the 2008 trial. Milton Brown, the other co-defendant, was acquitted of receiving child pornography.

Chicago-based U.S. Attorney John Lausch expressed satisfaction with the verdict. He told reporters that, when you add up the potential punishments on the six guilty counts, Kelly was staring at at least 10 years and up to 90 in prison.

Judge Harry Leinenweber did not set a sentencing date. He could order that Kelly serve whatever sentence he imposes simultaneously with the New York sentence or only after that one is fully served. The latter would, for practical purposes, mean a life sentence.

Prosecutors at the federal trial in Illinois portrayed Kelly as a master manipulator who used his fame and wealth to reel in star-stuck fans, some of them minors, to sexually abuse then discard them.

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was desperate to recover pornographic videos he made and lugged around in a gym bag, witnesses said. They said he offered up to $1 million to recover missing videos before his 2008 trial, knowing they would land him in legal peril. The conspiracy to hide his abuse ran from 2000 to 2020, prosecutors said.


R. Kelly guilty multiple child pornography charges monthlong trial biggest R&B star
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