The crisis manager for embattled singer R. Kelly announced Monday night that he’s stepping down from his position. Darrell Johnson told “CBS News” he’s no longer working for Kelly.
“I step down as crisis manager for personal reasons. Mr. Kelly is in good hands with Mr. Greenberg,” Johnson said, referring to Steve Greenberg, the criminal defense attorney who heads Kelly’s legal team in Chicago. The news come hours after Johnson appeared on “CBS This Morning“ and told co-host Gayle King that he would never leave his own daughter alone with an accused pedophile.
Pressed on whether he wouldn’t leave his daughter alone with Kelly specifically, Johnson repeated: “I would not leave my daughter with anyone that’s accused of being a pedophile. I would not.”
When King pointed out the seeming contradiction of defending Kelly, an accused pedophile, and simultaneously saying he wouldn’t trust his own daughter alone with anyone accused of that crime, Johnson repeated, “I wouldn’t leave my daughter with anyone — I’m going to say it again — that’s accused of being a pedophile.”
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Kelly, has faced mounting legal troubles this year after Lifetime aired a documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which revisited allegations of sexual abuse by a number of girls over the years. That series followed a 2018 BBC documentary that alleged the singer was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”
Johnson didn’t outright say Kelly was innocent but maintains that his now-former client was “a normal person.” “I haven’t seen anything that would cause me to be suspicious,” Johnson said.
“They’ve indicted Mr. Kelly. He’s in jail right now. He will have his day in court,” Johnson said. “And they’ll have to bring the evidence. And that’s what has to be done. If the evidence stick, Mr. Kelly will spend the rest of his life in the penitentiary.”
The singer faces multiple federal sex crimes charges and was recently denied bail during a July 16 court appearance. He has maintained his innocence and has pleaded not guilty.
This story was originally published by “CBS News” on July 22, 2019 at 9:30 p.m. ET.
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