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Jury Obtains R. Kelly Trial Settlement and Child Porn Case

CHICAGO– Jurors began deliberating Tuesday at R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago, reviewing a month of evidence and arguments on charges accusing the singer of producing child pornography, enticing minors for sex and rigging his trial. 2008 for child pornography.

Standing at a podium a few feet in front of the jurors, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, told jurors at their closing Tuesday that the government’s key witnesses were admitted liars who tested immunity to make sure they couldn’t be killed. accused.

Sometimes she sounded indignant and raised her voice, Bonjean liked her testimony and other evidence to a cockroach and the government’s 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 spill all the soup,” the jurors said. She said of the prosecution’s case: “There are too many cockroaches.”

As Bonjean spoke, Kelly, dressed in a gray suit and black mask, appeared calm at a nearby defense table. When a prosecutor later spoke and looked repeatedly at Kelly, he often looked away from her. Later, when the prosecutor described him abusing minors, he shook his head.

Jurors left to begin deliberating Tuesday afternoon and headed home without reaching a verdict several hours later. They were ready to pick up where they left off on Wednesday morning.

Kelly, 55, was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison during a separate federal trial in New York, where he was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking. Convictions for just some of the 13 charges Kelly faces in his current trial could add years to his incarceration.

Presenting the government’s rebuttal after Bonjean’s closure, prosecutor Jeannice Appenteng told the jury to remember the girls and women Kelly allegedly abused.

“As you stand in the stillness of the jury room, consider the evidence in light of who is at the center of this case. Kelly’s victims: Jane, Nia, Pauline, Tracy and Brittany,” Appenteng said, referring to five accusers. of Kelly named in charging documents by their pseudonyms or first names.

Four of them tested. Brittany did not.

The prosecutor also pointed to testimony that as Kelly’s fame grew in the mid-1990s, her staff and associates increasingly geared everything they did to what Kelly wanted.

“And ladies and gentlemen, what R. Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls,” he said.

Earlier, Bonjean implored the jury not to retreat to the jury room with an impression of Kelly informed by media coverage of him in recent years or by prosecutors at trial.

“They throw out labels like sexual predators,” he said of the prosecutors. “Labels and sweeping generalizations are distractions meant to make you lose your humanity for this man.”

She described Kelly as a flawed genius who was functionally illiterate from childhood and ill-equipped to navigate her celebrity and fortune. She said that being abused as a child also affected him deeply.

Bonjean said some witnesses who claimed immunity had not gone to court in Chicago, Kelly’s hometown, to tell the unvarnished truth.

“They came here to tell the government’s version of the truth,” he said.

Among others, Bonjean cited Kelly’s ex-girlfriend, Lisa Van Allen, who proved how he stole a sex tape from a Kelly gym bag in the early 2000s. He also pointed to Kelly’s former marketing agent, Charles Freeman. , who proved that he asked Kelly for $1 million in exchange for returning another potentially incriminating video. Both tested with immunity.

During his closing on Monday, prosecutor Elizabeth Pozolo told the jury that weeks of evidence showed that the singer took advantage of his fame to sexually abuse minors and record the abuse on video. She described Kelly as a secret sexual predator.

“Robert Kelly abused many girls over many years,” Pozolo said, referring to Kelly’s full name. “He committed horrible crimes against children… All these years later, the hidden side of Robert Kelly has come out.”

Bonjean twice asked for a mistrial Monday, complaining that closing arguments by attorneys for Kelly’s co-defendants, Derrell McDavid and Milton Brown, were based on the assumption that “the world now knows that Mr. Kelly is a sexual predator.”

“The presumption of innocence has been abolished for him,” he said. Judge Harry Linenweaver denied the requests.

Known for his smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly” and sex-infused songs like “Bump n’ Grind,” Kelly sold millions of albums even after allegations of sexual misconduct began circulating in the 1990s. Widespread outrage arose after the #MeToo reckoning and the 2019 Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly.”

Kelly and McDavid, the singer’s former business manager, are accused of rigging Kelly’s 2008 trial on state child pornography charges by intimidating and bribing witnesses.

Kelly faces 13 charges, including four counts of production of child pornography, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by rigging the 2008 trial, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, and five counts of enticing minors to have sex.

McDavid is charged with four counts, including two counts of receiving child pornography, one count of conspiracy to do so, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice by rigging the 2008 trial.

Brown faces a single count of conspiracy to receive child pornography.

Pozolo focused much of his closing argument on the government’s star witness, an accuser who called herself “Jane” and who said Kelly sexually assaulted her hundreds of times since she was 14 years old.

“He performed degrading acts on her for his own sick pleasure,” Pozolo said.

She reminded jurors of graphic video footage they had seen, which Jane testified showed Kelly, in her 30s, abusing her when she was 14. Videos shown included one at Kelly’s central trial. in 2008. Jurors later said they had no choice but to acquit Kelly because Jane did not testify.

“Who uses a 14-year-old to shoot a video like this? This man. Robert Kelly,” he said.

Before the 2008 trial, Pozolo said, Kelly and his associates scrambled to retrieve several missing sex tapes from a collection he often carried in a large gym bag.

In doing so, he said, Kelly’s associates sought to “conceal the fact that … R. Kelly, the R&B superstar, is actually a sexual predator.”

In his closing, an attorney for McDavid said prosecutors had to show that their client actually knew about any abuse of Jane by Kelly in the 2000s, not just that she likely knew.

“Did they prove that he knew…beyond a reasonable doubt?” asked Beau Brindley. “They didn’t.”

Pozolo took issue with the notion that McDavid had no idea in the 2000s that allegations of abuse could be credible after helping recover lost recordings and handing out bags of cash to people who returned videos McDavid knew were they could destroy Kelly.

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Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at and find AP’s full coverage of the R. Kelly trial at


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