The disgraced R&B singer was found guilty Wednesday on multiple counts, including child pornography, after Chicago prosecutors said the 55-year-old and his entourage lured underage girls into sex acts and recorded the abuse. Kelly, however, was acquitted on several counts, including conspiring to rig his 2srcsrc8 child pornography trial.
Two of Kelly’s former associates—Derrell McDavid and Milton Brown—who were tried alongside him for their role in the alleged cover-up scheme were also found not guilty on all charges on Wednesday. The Chicago Tribune reports that as the verdict was read, Kelly remained emotionless while his attorney Jennifer Bonjean fist pumped the air and rubbed his back.
As the jury was being escorted out of the courtroom, McDavid reportedly hugged Kelly and appeared to whisper in his ear.
Prosecutors had alleged in Cook County Court that Kelly conspired to obstruct justice during the 2srcsrc8 trial by threatening and paying off a teenage girl and her family so she would not testify about a tape he recorded of him urinating on her during a sex act.
“Robert Kelly abused many girls over many years,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo said during closing arguments on Monday. “He committed horrible crimes against children…. All these years later, the hidden side of Robert Kelly has come to light. The truth has come out.”
The conviction marks the second guilty verdict on sex crimes for the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer. In July, a New York federal judge Kelly sentenced to 3src years in prison after he was convicted of leading a criminal enterprise designed to help him prey on boys, girls, and adults for his own sexual gratification.
In the latest trial, prosecutors said Kelly was a sexual predator who used his superstardom and inner circle of loyal associates to lure underage girls and women for his own gratification. To prove the case, over two dozen witnesses testified on behalf of the prosecution, including four women who accused Kelly of sexual abuse.
Jurors also saw three videos of Kelly sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl referred to in court as “Jane.”
“He took advantage of his position, his fame, and [Jane’s] youth. He took advantage for his own pleasure,” Pozolo said Monday.
Seen as the government’s star witness, “Jane” testified for the first time that the disgraced singer sexually abused her on “hundreds” of occasions while she was a teenager. The now 37-year-old also confirmed that one of the several instances of abuse Kelly recorded was the now-infamous video that was at the center of a 2srcsrc8 child pornography trial and factored into a parody music video on the Chappelle Show years earlier.
“He would tell me what to do,” she said about their sexual interactions, according to a report from court in the Chicago Tribune. “I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t know how to say no.”
Jane said she initially lied to the Chicago Police Department when they began investigating her relationship with Kelly in 2srcsrcsrc, claiming the singer told her he would be ruined if the truth came out. When the tape was eventually leaked to the public, Jane testified, Kelly paid her off and stressed to her “how important it was to continue to deny it.” In April 2srcsrc2, she said, she was subpoenaed to testify before a Cook County grand jury, and she lied under oath about her relationship with the singer.
Jane recalled that during that testimony, she said “that I was not involved with [Kelly] sexually and that we had never made any videotapes.” Prosecutors said that Kelly’s two associates scrambled “to cover up the fact that… R.Kelly, the R&B superstar, is actually a sexual predator.”
Defense attorneys for the three defendants did their best to poke holes in the evidence.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bojean, stressed during her closing argument that some of the prosecution’s witnesses were granted immunity for their participation in the trial and “came in here to tell the government’s version of the truth.”
McDavid was the only defendant to take the stand in his own defense, spending three days insisting to jurors that he believed Kelly when he said he didn’t abuse girls—including Jane—two decades ago. Eventually, he said, he started to have doubts.
“Every statement, every report, every lawyer’s letter, all said the same thing: She denied it. Her parents denied it,” McDavid said about the tape with Jane. “I believed him.”