R Kelly: Disgraced R&B star guilty of several child pornography and sex abuse charges

A federal jury has convicted R Kelly of several child pornography and sex abuse charges in his hometown of Chicago.

Kelly, 55, was found guilty on three counts of child pornography and three counts of child enticement.

But the jury acquitted him on a fourth pornography count as well as a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge accusing him of fixing his state child pornography trial in 2008.

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He was found not guilty on all three counts of conspiring to receive child pornography and for two further enticement charges.

R Kelly was convicted on many counts but acquitted of trial fixing
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His two co-defendants were found not guilty on all charges.

Jurors, who deliberated for 11 hours over two days, wrote several questions to the judge on Wednesday, at least one indicating the panellists were grappling with some of the case’s legal complexities.

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At trial, prosecutors sought to paint a picture of Kelly as a master manipulator who used his fame and wealth to reel in star-struck fans, some of them minors, to sexually abuse then discard them.

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Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was desperate to recover child pornographic videos he made and lugged around in a gym bag, witnesses said. They said he offered up to one million dollars to recover missing videos before his 2008 trial, knowing they would land him in legal peril. The conspiracy to hide his abuse ran from 2000 to 2020, prosecutors said.

Kelly associates Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown were co-defendants at the Chicago trial. Jurors acquitted Mr McDavid, a longtime Kelly business manager, who was accused of conspiring with Kelly to rig the 2008 trial. Mr Brown, a Kelly associate for years, was acquitted of receiving child pornography.

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Kelly has already been convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking in New York and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In Chicago, a conviction of just one count of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, while receipt of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of five years.

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Judges can order that defendants sentenced earlier in separate cases serve their new sentence simultaneously with or only after the first term is fully served. Federal inmates must serve at least 85% of their sentences.

During closing arguments on Tuesday, Kelly lawyer Jennifer Bonjean likened the government’s testimony and evidence to a cockroach and its case to a bowl of soup.

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If a cockroach falls into soup, she said, “you don’t just pull out the cockroach and eat the rest of the soup. You throw out the whole soup,” said told jurors.

“There are just too many cockroaches,” she said of the prosecution’s case.

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In her closing rebuttal, prosecutor Jeannice Appenteng cited testimony that Kelly’s inner circle increasingly focused on doing what Kelly wanted as his fame boomed in the mid-1990s.

“And ladies and gentlemen, what R Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls,” she said.

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Defence lawyers suggested a desire for money and fame drove some government witnesses to accuse Kelly, and they accused several people of trying to blackmail him. They also suggested that at least one of his accusers was 17 — the age of consent in Illinois — when Kelly began pursuing her for sex.