R. Kelly convicted on child pornography charges in federal trial

Singer R. Kelly is convicted of six counts of child pornography and enticement of a minor in Chicago federal trial. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Sept. 14 (UPI) — A federal jury in Chicago has convicted R&B singer R. Kelly on child pornography charges for videotaping himself sexually abusing his 14-year-old goddaughter and four other minors.

Jurors deliberated for 11 hours and found Kelly guilty Wednesday on six out of 13 counts of sexual exploitation and enticement of a minor. Kelly was convicted on three of four counts of production of child pornography and three of five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.

The 55-year-old singer was acquitted of obstruction of justice related to an alleged conspiracy, with two associates, to hide video evidence during a trial in 2008. Both co-defendants, Milton Brown and Derrel McDavid, were acquitted on all charges against them.

This is the second guilty verdict for Kelly, who was convicted last year in New York on charges of federal racketeering and sex trafficking. He is currently serving a 30-year prison term in that case.

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney John Lausch told reporters Kelly could face 10 to 90 years in prison for his latest convictions and that prosecutors will request both sentences be served consecutively.

“When we have instances where defendants are convicted of committing horrific acts against other individuals, and it’s separate and apart from other horrific acts that he committed against other individuals, we’re asking for that sentence to be consecutive,” Lausch said.

Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was tried in Chicago in 2008 and was acquitted on 14 counts of producing child pornography. A video from that trial became a key piece of evidence in his new trial.

Five women, including Kelly’s goddaughter “Jane,” accused Kelly of sexually abusing them when they were girls. While “Jane” denied that Kelly abused her in his 2008 child pornography trial, she identified herself as the person in the videotape and testified in this trial that Kelly intimidated her and her family and paid them off to keep the abuse secret.

During the trial, “Jane” testified that Kelly abused her “innumerable” times when she was a minor at his home, his recording studio, on tour buses and in hotel rooms. “Jane” also testified that she decided to come forward after she became “exhausted with living with his lies.”

During closing arguments Monday, Assistant Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo reminded jurors, “You have seen the tapes. You have seen what Kelly did to Jane.”

“Robert Kelly abused many girls over many years. He committed horrible crimes against children,” Pozolo said. “The hidden side of Robert Kelly has come to light. The truth has come out.”

In her closing argument Tuesday, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, argued “Jane’s” parents lied about and condoned Kelly’s abuse.

“It is an inconvenient reality for the government,” Bonjean said. “Lives are complex, and for all the fist pounding and the outrage, that family made a decision that they had to live with at that time.”

Bonjean said she is considering filing an appeal, saying prosecutors had overblown their case during the five-week trial against Kelly.

“If this jury concluded that he was guilty on the first three counts, would they care enough to consider the evidence on the rest?” Bonjean said outside the court following the verdict. “And they demonstrated that they did. They did their job. They looked at each count separately.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here