R. Kelly, a disgraced singer, was found guilty on Wednesday of several child pornography charges that he had sexually assaulted his goddaughter, then 14, on camera nearly 20 years earlier. However, the jury exonerated him in his 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County of charges that he had conspired with two friends to conceal the tapes and obstruct justice.
Kelly, 55, was cleared of seven additional charges, including obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obtain child pornography, but she was found guilty of three counts of child pornography and three counts of soliciting children for sex. The maximum punishment for each act of child pornography is 20 years, whereas the maximum sentence for each case of enticement is 10 years.
Derrell McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, who were co-defendants, were cleared of all allegations.
Before reaching a decision, the jury took around 11 hours of deliberation over two days.
In three of the four charges against him, Kelly was found guilty of creating child pornography by recording himself having intercourse with his underage goddaughter, who gave evidence against him under the alias “Jane.” These three movies were shown in part to the jury in court. About a tape that Jane and the prosecution said showed Kelly having a threesome with Jane and his ex-girlfriend, Lisa Van Allen, the jury cleared him of a fourth child pornography allegation; however, the recording was not shown in court. According to the prosecution, Kelly and his group were successful in covering it up.
Kelly and McDavid, his former business manager, were cleared by the jury of a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge that was brought against them for allegedly manipulating his 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County by destroying incriminating sex tapes, intimidating Jane and her parents, and buying their silence.
In addition, Kelly, McDavid, and Brown were cleared of a child pornography conspiracy allegation that accused them of attempting to obtain and conceal three sex recordings featuring Jane. Additionally, Kelly and McDavid were found not guilty of two counts of obtaining child pornography, which involved additional allegations that they sought and hid additional tapes starring Jane. Charles Freeman and Lisa Van Allen, who defense counsel characterized as liars seeking to extort Kelly for money, provided testimony that was vital to the government’s case against those allegations.
In the end, Kelly was found guilty of three of the five accusations brought against him for luring juveniles into sexual conduct while being exonerated on the other two. He was found guilty of enticement charges involving Jane and two more accusers who gave testimony under the aliases “Nia” and “Pauline,” but was cleared of charges involving accusers “Tracy” and “Brittany.”
When Jane was just 14 years old, Kelly became her godfather. Jane has since made several allegations against him of sexual abuse. Three recordings, including one in which Kelly instructed Jane to lie on the ground as he peed on her, were played for the jury by the prosecution.
Nia had testified that she first met Kelly in 1996 when she was just 15 years old and that they had two sexual experiences, the first at a hotel during his Minnesota concert tour, and the second later that year at his Chicago recording studio.
When Pauline was just 14 years old, Jane introduced her to Kelly. The three quickly began having threesomes, and when Pauline was 15 years old, she began her sexual connection with Kelly alone. Between the ages of 14 and 16, she had 60 threesomes with Kelly and Kelly more than 80 times, according to her estimates.
Tracy stated that she first met Kelly in 1999 while working as an unofficial intern for an executive at Epic Records. Tracy further stated that Kelly “forced himself” on her at the age of 16 at a downtown Chicago hotel. She said that the two subsequently formed a sexual connection that lasted after she became 17 years old. Defense lawyers, however, disputed her assertions by bringing up a prior case Kelly was included in, in which she said they first met and began having sex in 2000 when she was just 17 years old.
When Kelly and Brittany were merely little girls, Jane and Pauline testified about having threesomes with them. However, Brittany did not testify at the trial, and the defense counsel jumped on this by asking the jury in the closing arguments, “Where is Brittany?”
Before the jury started deliberating, Kelly’s main defense counsel urged the jury to disregard any prior knowledge they may have had about the singer, conceding that most of it were undoubtedly unfavorable, and to consider him as a “John Doe.” According to Bonjean, the jury must base their verdict only on the facts they heard in court, not on anything they may have learned about Kelly through the media or from other sources.
Whatever the jury may conclude, Kelly created some lovely songs, according to Bonjean, and he shouldn’t “be robbed of every ounce of humanity he has.”
In contrast, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice Appenteng stated in the prosecution’s rebuttal argument that it was abundantly evident from the evidence that Kelly had sexually assaulted girls and that his co-defendants had assisted him in covering it up.
R. Kelly intended to engage in sexual activity with young females, according to Appenteng.
When the jury muses about the case, Appenteng advised them to focus on Kelly’s victims, who are its central figure. She said that Kelly started having sex with them when they were kids and that the jury should convict him.
“Each count in the indictment is true and the defendants are guilty. Make them answerable, “said Appenteng.
More than 30 witnesses testified over four weeks, and the jury also viewed excerpts from three sex recordings that, according to the prosecution, depict Kelly sexually assaulting his goddaughter, who is 14 years old.
Four women testified during the trial that Kelly had molested them as girls. The state’s star witness, who gave testimony under the alias “Jane,” told the jury that Kelly started abusing her after becoming her godfather when she was only 14 and had hundreds of sex encounters with her between the ages of 14 and 18.
Jane had denied Kelly’s assault for years, but she now claims he bullied her and her family and bought their silence about it. She has now claimed that she was the subject of the crucial 2008 Cook County child pornography film and has informed the jury that Kelly had also captured her in other court-played movies.
When Kelly denied sexually assaulting girls in the early 2000s, McDavid, the only defendant to testify at the trial, repeatedly told jurors that he trusted Kelly. However, McDavid said that after discovering new information during the continuing federal trial, he came to question Kelly’s innocence.
Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking in federal court in New York last year, and as a result, he has already received a 30-year jail term.
In Cook County, Kelly is currently awaiting trial with four women—three of whom were teenagers at the time of the abuse—who were the victims of sexual assault and abuse. In Minnesota, he is also accused of enticing a child to engage in prostitution.