CHICAGO — A federal jury in Illinois has found disgraced singer R. Kelly guilty of six counts of sexually exploiting and inciting a minor in a case stemming from complaints from multiple women who alleged he had lured them into sexual acts when they were underage and charges that Kelly had conspired to intimidate and bribe witnesses and conceal evidence of this abuse during a previous criminal trial against him.
The decision came on the second day of deliberations and came a year after Kelly was convicted in New York of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence in this case.
Kelly had faced 13 counts, including charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, receipt of child pornography, incitement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct, conspiracy to obstruct the justice and conspiracy to receive child pornography. He was acquitted on seven counts, including all conspiracy charges.
Kelly had been accused by prosecutors of performing sexual acts with five minors and recording some of the abuse on multiple videos.
During the trial, which spanned five weeks, jurors heard from several of Kelly’s alleged victims who all testified that they were underage when Kelly began sexually abusing them.
Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was tried alongside two co-defendants, former business manager Derrel McDavid and partner Milton “June” Brown. McDavid and Brown were both found not guilty on all charges.
The pair were charged with conspiring with Kelly to rig the outcome of the singer’s 2008 criminal trial in Cook County, which involved a videotape of Kelly allegedly sexually abusing a minor, federal charges allege brought against them.
Prosecutors centered their case on a star witness, identified by the pseudonym Jane in court, who identified herself as the person in a 26-minute videotape sent anonymously to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002 that allegedly showed Kelly performing a performing sexual acts with an underage girl. . NBC News has not viewed the videotape. Portions of this and several other recordings, allegedly depicting Kelly engaging in sexual acts with minors, were played during the trial as the prosecution presented its case.
Kelly was previously tried in Cook County on child pornography charges related to the same video and was acquitted. Jane refused to testify at this trial.
In moving testimony, Jane, now 37, said the singer started having sex with her when he was 15 and was in his 30s and continued to do so. do “hundreds” of times before you turn 18. She also testified that he exerted an intense psychological hold on her which caused her to isolate herself from her parents and keep the relationship a secret to remain “faithful” to him.
She testified that she decided to come forward a few years ago because she “was exhausted from living with her lies”.
Kelly was convicted on Wednesday of three of four counts of sexually exploiting a minor linked to Jane.
Three other alleged victims also testified that Kelly manipulated and sexually abused them for years when they were underage.
Prosecution witnesses also testified that Kelly and his co-defendants paid off and intimidated several people to try to retrieve the video recording of his alleged assault on Jane.
Federal prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments that Kelly committed “horrible crimes against children” and then, with the help of his business partners, tried to cover up his actions because he knew they would be “completely damning.” “.
They also argued that Kelly “took advantage of Jane’s youth” for her own “sick pleasure” and that the jury should consider the case using her as “base and guide”.
“She was brave enough to come forward after all these years to tell you what happened,” attorney Elizabeth Pozolo told jurors on Monday.
Kelly, who has denied any wrongdoing, did not testify at the trial. His lawyer Jennifer Bonjean argued that the government witnesses were not credible and called many “liars” and opportunists. She even likened the testimony of two of the witnesses to “cockroaches” spoiling “all the soup” during her closing arguments.
She implored jurors on Tuesday to set aside their prior knowledge of Kelly during deliberation and focus only on the evidence presented at this trial.
The trial took place in Kelly’s hometown, and several supporters and family members showed up hours before the start of the trial each day to secure a seat in the courtroom. Throughout the trial, some prayed with Bibles and rosaries, and on the final day of closing arguments, some wore white as a show of solidarity with the disgraced singer. Several people prayed together as they waited, asking “an angel to come through the courtroom” to help Kelly.