A federal jury on Wednesday found R. Kelly guilty of multiple counts of child pornography and sexual abuse in his hometown of Chicago, dealing another legal blow to a singer who is one of the world’s biggest R&B stars. used to be
Kelly, 55, was found guilty of three counts of child pornography and three counts of child solicitation.
But a jury acquitted him of a fourth pornography count, as well as conspiracy to obstruct justice, in which he was accused of settling a state child pornography trial in 2008. He was found not guilty of three counts of conspiring to obtain child pornography and two more. Allegations of greed
His two co-defendants were found not guilty of all charges.
The jurors, who deliberated for 11 hours over two days, wrote several questions to the judge on Wednesday, at least one indicating that the panelists were grappling with some of the legal complexities of the case.
One asked if they were to find Kelly both entrapped and coerced minors, or whether she entrapped or coerced them. Over the objections of Kelly’s attorney, the judge said he only needed to find one.
During the trial, prosecutors tried to paint a picture of Kelly as a master manipulator who used her fame and fortune to sexually abuse star-studded fans, some of whom were minors. used and then discarded them.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was desperate to retrieve child pornography videos he had made and rummaged through a gym bag, witnesses said. They said he offered up to $1 million to recover the missing videos before his 2008 trial, knowing they would put him in legal jeopardy. Prosecutors said the conspiracy to cover up his abuse lasted from 2000 to 2020.
Kelly’s partners Darrell McDavid and Milton Brown were co-defendants in the Chicago case. Jurors acquitted McDavid, Kelly’s longtime business manager, who was accused of conspiring to defraud Kelly in a 2008 trial. Brown, Kelly’s partner for years, was acquitted of obtaining child pornography.
Kelly has already been convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking in New York and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In Chicago, a single count of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, while a child pornography conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Judges may order that defendants previously convicted in separate cases serve their new sentences concurrently or only after the first term is completed. Federal prisoners must serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.
During closing arguments Tuesday, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, likened the government’s testimony and evidence to a cockroach and his case to a bowl of soup.
If a cockroach falls into the soup, he said, “You don’t just take the cockroach out and eat the rest of the soup. You throw the whole soup away,” he told the judges.
“There are just too many cockroaches,” he said of the prosecution’s case.
The three defendants called only a few witnesses over four days. Co-defendant McDavid, who was on the stand for three days, hurt Kelly’s hopes of an acquittal by saying he now doubts Kelly was being truthful after hearing testimony from the superstar’s accusers. Refused to abuse anyone.
In her closing rebuttal, prosecutor Janice Apenteng cited testimony that Kelly’s inner circle increasingly focused on doing what Kelly wanted as her fame grew in the mid-1990s.
“And ladies and gentlemen, what R. Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls,” she said.
Four of Kelly’s accusers testified, all referred to by pseudonyms or their first names: Jane, Nia, Pauline and Tracy. Some cried while describing the abuse, but otherwise spoke with calmness and confidence. A fifth accused, Brittany, did not testify.
Sitting close in a suit and face mask, Kelly often averted her eyes and looked down when her accusers spoke.
A few dozen die-hard Kelly fans regularly attended the trial. On at least one occasion during the break, several heart handprints on Kelly. He smiled back.
Jain, 37, was the government’s star witness and key to the fixing charge, which accused Kelly of using threats and payoffs to get her to lie to a grand jury before her 2008 trial. to ensure that he and his parents would not testify.
A video, which state prosecutors said showed Kelly abusing a girl about 14 years old, was the centerpiece of the case.
On the witness stand for two days in late August, Jane paused, pulled on a necklace and dabbed her eyes with a tissue as she said publicly for the first time that the girl in the video was 14 years old. And the man Kelly, who must be in his 30s.
Some jurors in the 2008 trial said they had to acquit Kelly because the girl in the video did not testify. At a federal trial in Chicago, Jean said he lied to a state grand jury in 2002 when he said it wasn’t him in the video, part of the reason he lied was because he was Kelly’s friend. She cared and didn’t want to get it. In trouble.
Jane told jurors she was 15 when she had sex for the first time. Asked how many times he had sex before he turned 18, he quietly replied: “Countless times.… hundreds.”
Jane, who belonged to a teenage singing group, first met Kelly in the late 1990s when she was in junior high school. She accompanied her aunt, a professional singer, to Kelly’s Chicago recording studio. Shortly after this meeting, Jane tells her parents that Kelly is going to be her godfather.
Jane testified that when her parents confronted Kelly in the early 2000s, he fell to his knees and begged for their forgiveness. She said she begged her parents not to take action against Kelly because she loves her.
Defense attorneys motivated some government witnesses to impeach Kelly because of their desire for money and fame, and they accused several people of trying to blackmail him. They also suggested that at least one of his accusers was 17 — the age of consent in Illinois — when Kelly began pursuing him for sex.
Bonjean urged jurors not to accept prosecutors’ portrayal of his client as “a monster,” saying Kelly was forced to rely on others because of intellectual challenges. And that he was sometimes misled.
“Mr. Kelly may also be a victim,” she said in her opening statement.
Prosecutors played jurors excerpts from three videos that Jain said featured him. Court officials placed opaque screens around the judges so reporters and spectators could not see the videos or the judges’ reactions.
But the sound was audible. In one video, the girl is heard calling the man “Daddy” repeatedly. At one point she asks: “Daddy, do you still love me?” The man gives her sexually explicit instructions.
Prosecutors said Kelly shot the video around 1998 in a log cabin-themed living room in his North Side Chicago home as evidence in the 2008 trial.
Pauline, another accuser, said Jane introduced her to Kelly when they were 14-year-old middle school classmates in 1998. At Kelly’s Chicago home later that year, Pauline described her shock when she said she walked in with Kelly and a naked Jane for the first time. . She said Kelly told her that everyone has secrets. “It’s our secret,” he testified.
Pauline told jurors she still cares about Kelly. But, as a 37-year-old mother, she said she now has a different perspective.
“If somebody does something to my kids,” she said, “I’m hitting them. Period.”