R. Kelly trial: Jury has questions for judge as it continues deliberations

CHICAGO (SCS) — During their second day of deliberations on Wednesday, jurors in R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago asked three questions as they worked to reach a verdict.

One question was about a discrepancy between the wording of the indictment and the wording of the jury instructions. The jurors wanted to know if they needed to find that Kelly both instigated and coerced minors into sexual activity to convict him of those specific charges, or if they needed to determine that he instigated or coerced them. forced. Despite objections from Kelly’s defense team, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber said he would tell jurors they only had to determine that Kelly coerced or enticed his accusers.

The other two questions were requests to see records related to an accusatory internship “Tracy” had at a record company, and for Westin Hotel records from 1999 and 2000. Tracy said she met Kelly when she was working as an intern at a record company when she was 16 and he sexually assaulted her at a Westin hotel in 1999. But in a previous lawsuit against Kelly, Tracy claimed she was 17 when they started having sex.

The judge said neither Tracy’s internship papers nor Westin hotel records from 1999 and 2000 are in evidence in the case, so the jury won’t be able to see them.

Kelly, 55, faces indictment on 13 counts of child pornography, obstruction of justice and incitement to sex with minors. Two former accomplices are tried alongside him.

Kelly and his former business manager, Derrel McDavid, are accused of rigging Kelly’s child pornography trial in 2008 – in which he was acquitted – by intimidating and paying off witnesses, and conspiring to cover up Kelly’s alleged child sexual abuse by buying up incriminating videotapes. McDavid faces four counts – two of receiving child pornography, one of conspiracy to receive child pornography and one of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Kelly’s former assistant, Milton “June” Brown, is charged with one count of receiving child pornography for his alleged role in the scheme to cover up the sex tapes.

Before the jury began their deliberations, Kelly’s lead defense attorney asked the jurors to put aside what they knew about the singer before the trial, acknowledging that most of that information was probably not favorable, and to treat him like a “John Doe”. Bonjean said the jury must make their decision based solely on the evidence heard in the courtroom, not on what they might know about Kelly through the media or what they heard at her topic elsewhere.

Bonjean said that no matter what the jurors might decide, Kelly did some great things when it came to making music, and he shouldn’t “be stripped of all his humanity.”

However, in rebuttal of the charge, Assistant US Attorney Jeannice Appenteng said the evidence was clear that Kelly sexually abused girls and that his co-defendants helped him cover it up.

“What R. Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls,” Appenteng said.

Appenteng said that when the jury thinks about the case, they have to ask themselves who is at the center of it: Kelly’s victims. She said they were children when Kelly started having sex with them, and the jury should find him guilty.

“The defendants are guilty on every count. Hold them accountable,” Appenteng said.

Jurors heard four weeks of testimony from more than 30 witnesses and saw clips from three sex tapes that prosecutors say show Kelly sexually abusing her 14-year-old goddaughter.

During the trial, four women accused Kelly of sexually abusing them as girls, including the state’s star witness, who testified under the pseudonym “Jane”, and told jurors that Kelly started to abuse her after becoming her godfather when she was only 14 years old. and had sex with her hundreds of times between the ages of 14 and 18.

Jane had denied for years that Kelly abused her, but now says Kelly bullied her and her family and paid them off to keep her abuse a secret. She now says she was the person in the video at the center of Kelly’s 2008 Cook County child pornography trial, and told the jury that Kelly recorded her on other videos shown in court.

McDavid was the only defendant to testify at trial, spending three days in the witness box, repeatedly telling jurors he believed Kelly when he denied sexually abusing girls in the early 2000s, but said that he had begun to doubt Kelly’s innocence after learning new things. during the ongoing federal trial.

Kelly has previously been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking in federal court in New York.


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