R. Kelly Case Expected To Be Turned Over to Jurors Tuesday

R. Kelly
AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File

R&B star R. Kelly’s lawyer is expected to make her final arguments when the singer’s trial on federal child pornography charges resumes Tuesday morning.

Kelly attorney Jennifer Bonjean has been allotted two hours to make the case for acquitting Kelly, who faces 13 counts related to allegedly filming himself engaged in sex acts with an underage girl, sexually abusing four others, and conspiring with two of his former employees to rig his 2008 child pornography trial in state court.

Jurors on Monday heard closing arguments from the government and Kelly’s two co-defendants, former business manager Derrel McDavid and former assistant Milton “June” Brown. Jurors should begin deliberations as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

Laying out the case against Kelly, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo described the trio as a “team” that worked together to hide Kelly’s sexual abuse of underage girls for decades.

“They did their level best… to cover up the fact that Robert Kelly, R. Kelly the R&B superstar, is actually a sexual predator,” Pozolo said.

She pointed to the government’s strongest evidence against the singer: video that purportedly shows the singer performing sex acts with an underage girl whom Kelly considered his unofficial goddaughter, identified in court by the pseudonym, “Jane.”

“They did their best, but in the end, they failed,” Pozolo said. “We are here today because those tapes that they concealed for 20 years are no longer their secret. You have seen the tapes. You have seen what Kelly did to Jane.”

Testimony in the trial spanned four weeks, with Jane herself taking the witness stand to testify that she and her parents for years had lied about sexual abuse by the singer, including false statements made to Chicago police investigators and a state grand jury, which, nonetheless indicted the singer in 2002. Jane did not testify when the singer went to trial in 2008, and he was acquitted by a Cook County jury.

Bonjean is known for her fiery courtroom demeanor, but would seem to face an uphill battle to overcome Jane’s emotional testimony in Kelly’s current trial when she took the stand last month. During her testimony, Jane identified herself in videos that purportedly show her abuse by the singer, including a tape in which Kelly and Jane could be heard referring repeatedly to her age as they perform sex acts in the late 1990s.

Monday, McDavid’s lawyers — as they did during the accountant’s three days on the witness stand — attacked the credibility of prosecution witnesses who had admitted to taking cash bounties to conceal alleged child porn videos. McDavid testified her believed the singer’s denials at the time.

“The information he had then is just different than what he had now,” McDavid’s attorney, Beau Brindley said.

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