Reaction was swift after singer R. Kelly was found guilty on six counts of child pornography and enticement in a Chicago federal courtroom on Wednesday.
Kelly, a Chicago-native, was also acquitted on seven counts in the case, including those surrounding his alleged fixing of a previous trial in 2008.
It took the jury 11 hours to reach its verdicts in the case. The jury also acquitted Kelly associates Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown.
“We are pleased with the fact that Robert Kelly is finally being held accountable for that reprehensible conduct,” U.S. Attorney John Lausch said.
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Lausch thanked victims in the case for coming forward.
“Their courage to come into this courtroom and to stand before the jury and to reveal the unspeakable things that this man did to them, then videotaped them, it’s remarkable,” he said.
Kelly was found guilty on three counts of producing child pornography, and three counts of enticing a minor for sex. He was acquitted on several other charges, the most serious of which involved allegations that he had been involved in a scheme to pay off witnesses during a 2008 child pornography trial, during which he was ultimately acquitted.
“We’re not celebrating a win entirely, but we are happy that the jury really did look at each count,” the singer’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean said. “What he did say is that he had a particular sense of relief that his particular case was not in his future, and that it was in the past now.”
Kelly is currently serving a 30-year sentence after being convicted on federal racketeering and sex abuse charges in New York.
Jim DeRogatis, a reporter who broke the Kelly story decades ago, says that he believes the verdict is a long overdue dose of accountability for the singer.
“So many people enabled this behavior for 30 years,” he said. “The fact that he abused this incredible gift he had to destroy lives is just…I think I’ve never encountered a sadder story in my 40 years of covering music.”
Kelly faces up to 90 years in prison in the case. Prosecutors said they will ask a judge to stack that time on top of the sentence he’s currently serving in New York.