Lawyer: Don’t Accept R. Kelly’s Representation As ‘Freak’


A lawyer for R. Kelly implored jurors in the singer’s rigging and child pornography case Wednesday not to accept what she says is the prosecution’s description of her client as “a monster “.

“When the government wants to paint you as a monster … remember we’re talking about a human being,” said Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s lead attorney.

He also warned jurors not to succumb to what he called “a climate of mob justice” around Kelly, alluding to the six-part documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” and years of harsh accounts in the social media about him.

“It is true that Mr. Kelly is flawed,” he said. “On his journey from rags to stardom, he stumbled along the way.” But, he said, he was confident the jury would ultimately find him not guilty.

Kelly is charged in federal court in his hometown of Chicago with enticing minors to have sex, producing child pornography and rigging his 2008 pornography trial in which he was acquitted.

THIS IS A LAST MINUTE UPDATE. The previous AP story follows below.

CHICAGO (AP) — The federal trial of R. Kelly on charges that he rigged his 2008 state child pornography trial and lured girls for sex is about the R&B singer’s “dark” and “hidden” side, he said. a prosecutor to the jury on Wednesday.

Assistant United States Attorney Jason Julien said during opening statements that much of the world knew Kelly from her hit song “I Believe I Can Fly.” Julien said that was “Kelly’s public side,” later adding that “Kelly had another side…a hidden side, a dark side.”

“This trial is about the hidden side of Kelly,” Julien said.

Kelly is charged in federal court in his hometown of Chicago with enticing minors to have sex, producing child pornography and rigging his 2008 pornography trial in which he was acquitted.

Julien tried to give the jury an idea of ​​the scale of Kelly’s alleged exploitation, saying he “repeatedly” had sex with girls as young as 14, 15 and 16, “multiple girls, hundreds of times.”

Both the prosecution and Kelly’s legal team told the judge earlier in the week that they would like an hour each to brief the jury on the kind of evidence they can expect to see and hear. The evidentiary phase of the federal trial is expected to last about a month.

Attorneys for two of Kelly’s co-defendants will also address the jury before the government begins calling witnesses later Wednesday. Prosecutors have not said who they will call first.

The jury was packed Tuesday night with prosecutors and defense attorneys arguing late in the proceedings whether the government was improperly trying to keep some black people off the jury. Kelly is black.

About half of the 12 jurors were identified as black by the judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys.

Some of the selected jurors had seen at least part of a six-part documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” about sexual abuse allegations against the Grammy Award-winning singer. Seeing it was not an automatic disqualification as long as a prospective juror could assure US District Judge Harry Leinenweber that they could still be impartial.

A central focus of the trial will be whether Kelly threatened and paid off a girl he allegedly recorded having sex with when he was in his 30s and she was no more than 14. That is the allegation that underpins another of Kelly’s charges, conspiracy. . to obstruct justice.

Jurors in the 2008 child pornography trial acquitted Kelly, with some later explaining that they felt they had no choice because the girl did not testify. The woman, now in her 30s and referred to in court documents only as “Minor 1,” will be the government’s star witness. Prosecutors have said she will be used under a single pseudonym, “Jane,” in court.

Kelly, 55, has already been sentenced by a New York federal judge to 30 years in prison for a 2021 conviction on charges that he used his fame to sexually abuse other young fans.

Kelly, who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, songwriter and producer, will be in his 80s before qualifying for early release based on his sentence in New York, which he is appealing.

Kelly faces four counts of enticing minors to have sex, one for each of the other four accusers. They are also expected to testify.

Two of Kelly’s associates, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, are co-defendants in the Chicago trial. McDavid is accused of helping Kelly fix the 2008 trial, while Brown is accused of receiving child pornography. Like Kelly, they have also denied any wrongdoing.

Minor 1 is expected to testify that she was on video having sex with Kelly. The recording was at the center of the 2008 trial, which lasted a month, and was heard by jurors almost every day. Prosecutors say Kelly threatened and tried to pay Minor 1 and her parents not to testify in 2008. Neither of them did.

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