R. Kelly was convicted Wednesday of six of the 13 charges he faced at his federal trial in Chicago, while his two co-defendants and former associates were acquitted of all charges.
Kelly was found guilty of three child pornography counts, and three counts of enticing minors for sex, but acquitted of seven other charges, including obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to receive child pornography.
Co-defendants Derrell McDavid and Milton “June” Brown were acquitted of all charges.
Kelly, 55, was accused of enticing five girls for sex, and conspiring with two former associates to cover up his sex crimes by buying back incriminating videotapes. He was also accused along with his former business manager, Derrel McDavid to fix his 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County by intimidating and paying off witnesses.
Before the jury began its deliberations, Kelly’s lead defense attorney asked jurors to set aside what they knew about the singer before the trial, acknowledging most of it probably wasn’t favorable, and to treat him as a “John Doe.” Bonjean said the jury must make their decision based only on the evidence they heard in the courtroom, not what they might know about Kelly through the media, or what they’ve heard about him elsewhere.
Bonjean said no matter what jurors might decide, Kelly did some beautiful things when it came to making music, and he shouldn’t “be stripped of every bit of humanity he has.”
However, in the prosecution’s rebuttal argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice Appenteng said the evidence was clear that Kelly sexually abused girls, and his co-defendants helped him cover it up.
“What R. Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls,” Appenteng said.
Appenteng said when the jury reflects on the case, they should consider who is at the center of it: Kelly’s victims. She said they were children when Kelly began sexual relationships with them, and the jury should find him guilty.
“The defendants are guilty of each count in the indictment. Hold them accountable,” Appenteng said.
Jurors heard four weeks of testimony from more than 30 witnesses, and saw clips from three sex tapes that prosecutors say show Kelly sexually abusing his 14-year-old goddaughter.
During the trial, four women accused Kelly of sexually abusing them when they were girls, including the state’s star witness, who testified under the pseudonym “Jane,” and told jurors that Kelly began abusing her after becoming her godfather when she was only 14, and had sex with her hundreds of times between the ages of 14 and 18.
Jane had denied for years that Kelly abused her, but now says Kelly intimidated her and her family, and paid them off to keep his abuse secret. She now says she was the person in the video at the center of Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County, and has told the jury Kelly recorded her on other videos shown in court.
McDavid was the only defendant to testify at the trial, spending three days on the witness stand repeatedly telling jurors that he believed Kelly when he denied sexually abusing girls in the early 2000s, but said he began to have doubts about Kelly’s innocence after learning new things during the ongoing federal trial.
Kelly already has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking charges in federal court in New York.
This story was originally published by CBS News on Sept. 14, 2022