Disgraced R&B Singer R. Kelly Found Guilty in Chicago Trial for Child Pornography

By Karis Kim


CHICAGO, IL.—This month, the infamous pop and R&B singer Robert Kelly was convicted on 6 out of 13 counts of child pornography, specifically pressuring minors (including his goddaughter) into criminal sexual activity and creating child sexual abuse videos.


This is not Kelly’s first trial in Chicago. In 2008, he was tried on child sexual abuse imagery charges but acquitted after his goddaughter refused to work with investigators and testify against him. This trial followed a grand jury indictment on 21 counts (later reduced to 14) of child pornography in 2002. 


Kelly’s 2008 trial focused on a 27-minute videotape sent to the Chicago Sun-Times in which the singer allegedly performed sexual acts with a minor, whom the prosecutors suspected was Kelly’s 14-year-old goddaughter. However, the denial that they were the ones in the video of both Kelly and “Jane” (the goddaughter’s pseudonym) led to his acquittal. 


The most recent trial centers around not only Kelly’s child pornography charges, but also around the charges against him and two co-defendents, Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, who conspired with Kelly to cover up evidence and rig his trial back in 2008. 


Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice Appenteng told the jury: “Find Mr. McDavid and Mr. Brown guilty for agreeing with Kelly to cover up the videos.” She states that the case was “fixed” because Kelly, McDavid, and others forced or bribed Jane and her parents to keep quiet and hide from investigators during the 2008 trial. 


While Kelly was convicted on six counts of child pornography, he and his two associates were acquitted on the obstruction charges for the 2008 criminal investigation. 


Unlike in the 2008 trial, Jane came forward and testified, convincing the jury to find the singer guilty. When asked for the reason for her cooperation after over two decades, she stated, “I no longer wanted to carry his lies.”


Jane testified to the jury that she was the one in the video and that Kelly sexually abused and assaulted her numerous times. Three other woman also took the witness stand, testifying that when Kelly was a rising singer, he sexually abused them as minors. 


In addition to serving his 30-year sentence from his trial in New York from charges on sex trafficking and racketeering, his new charges carry a minimum of 10 years. Prosecutors have requested Kelly’s new charges to be consecutive after his 30 years. 


When the verdict was read, U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. stated, “We are particularly pleased that Robert Kelly is finally, finally being held responsible for the abuse of his 14-year-old goddaughter.”


On the other hand, Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s attorney, told the press, “Kelly is used to bad news, but he knows he’s got more fights to fight.” She mentions that they are preparing an appeal for his New York sentence and possibly for the Chicago trial as well. 


Mikki Kendall, a writer who was raised in the city of Chicago stated, “Chicago has always struggled with this because he is local and we tend to go up for our locals. There are people who are going to be very upset and will again try to insist that the girls are at fault, and there are going to be people — and I am one of them — who are going to say 59,000 times: He is a grown man preying on very young women and children.” 


The singer is also facing sex crime charges in Illinois and Minnesota. However, he will not face more criminal charges if prosecutors decide to drop them following Kelly’s second federal conviction. 

About The Author

Karis is a junior at UCLA majoring in English and minoring in Public Affairs. After graduation, she wants to attend law school to pursue her dream of becoming a corporate or civil lawyer.

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