American singer-songwriter R. Kelly faces federal charges of child pornography and obstruction as jury selection begins Monday in his hometown of Chicago.
Kelly, 55, is accused of performing sexual acts with five minors and recording some of the abuse on multiple videos. He is also accused of conspiring to intimidate victims and conceal evidence in an attempt to obstruct law enforcement, including an investigation in the 2000s that culminated in his 2008 trial for child pornography. State, according to court documents.
All five accusers are expected to testify.
Two former employees of Kelly’s music business, Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, are co-defendants in the federal lawsuit. McDavid, 58, of Chicago, is accused of helping Kelly fix the 2008 lawsuit, while Brown, 53, also of Chicago, is accused of receiving child pornography, according to court documents. All three men have denied the allegations.
On June 13, 2008, a Cook County jury acquitted Kelly of 21 counts of child pornography related to a video showing him having sex with a minor, who is one of the accusers in the federal trial. . That same tape will be entered into evidence at the federal trial along with three other videos, according to court documents.
The woman, now in her 30s and referred to in documents only as “minor 1”, met Kelly in the 1990s when she was 12 or 13, according to court documents. Federal prosecutors alleged that Kelly and McDavid then threatened and sought to pay Minor 1 and her parents not to testify at the 2008 trial. They never did.
Born into poverty on Chicago’s South Side, Kelly grew up to become hailed as an RLegend of &B and one of the most successful artists of all time, selling millions of albums worldwide and winning numerous accolades along the way, including three Grammy Awards. He has been adored by fans throughout his career despite allegations of sexual misconduct.
Everything seemed to change in January 2019, when the American television channel Lifetime aired the documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly”, which featured on-camera interviews with several women claiming to have been sexually abused by the singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester. Kelly. The following month, Kelly was formally charged in Cook County with multiple counts of aggravated felony sexual abuse.
The docuseries went on to receive accolades and win a 2020 Peabody Award. During this time, Kelly was dropped by his record label and many other artists who had previously collaborated with him distanced themselves. During an interview with CBS News’ Gayle King in March 2019, Kelly cried, screamed and jumped out of her chair while denying any wrongdoing.
On September 27, 2021, Kelly was convicted of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges stemming from his efforts over the years to use his superstar status to entrap and sexually abuse young fans, some of whom were just children. He was sentenced last month to 30 years in prison. Kelly has maintained his innocence and said he plans to appeal his conviction.