Embattled R&B star R. Kelly has been found guilty of child sexual abuse in his second federal trial.
The jury convicted the 55-year-old on six out of 13 counts after a four-week case in his hometown of Chicago. He was acquitted of fixing a state trial on child pornography charges in 2008.
Last year, R. Kelly was convicted of sex trafficking and racketeering in New York and was later sentenced to 30 years in jail. The latest verdict is expected to add years to his incarceration.
The artist, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was found guilty of three counts of enticing minors for sex and three counts of producing child sexual imagery.
The jury did not find him guilty of obstructing justice relating to his 2008 trial, which ended in acquittal. Two of his former associates, who were also accused of fixing the 2008 trial, were on trial with him, but were acquitted of all charges.
The 2008 trial centred on a 30-minute video of Kelly abusing a 14-year-old girl. The victim – known by the pseudonym “Jane”, declined to testify in court 14 years ago and jurors ultimately acquitted him on all counts.
Victim recount harrowing experience
However, Jane, now 37 years old, testified last month that she is the person in that footage. She revealed that Kelly had sexually abused her hundreds of times before she turned 18.
That tape and two others were shown to jurors during the trial. Four other women accused the singer of abusing them as children, and more than 30 witnesses testified.
The closing arguments for the trial featured graphic descriptions of child abuse which led to one juror suffering a panic attack. She was dismissed and replaced with an alternate juror.
Assistant US Attorney, Elizabeth Pozolo, described how the video shows Kelly urinating on the girl.
“That degrading act is forever captured on that video… That abuse is forever memorialised. Who does that? Who uses a 14-year-old child to film a video like this? This man, Robert Kelly.”Elizabeth Pozolo
After the verdict was read, Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, criticised prosecutors, who she said had “charged counts that they couldn’t win”. She stated that jurors had done their jobs by acquitting Kelly of half the charges.
“Obviously we are not celebrating a win, but are happy the jury looked at each count.”Jennifer Bonjean
At Kelly’s New York trial last September, jurors heard how he trafficked women for sexual abuse between different US states, assisted by managers, security guards and other members of his entourage.
US media noted that the 2021 conviction marked the first time since the #MeToo movement that black female accusers had taken centre stage in a major sex abuse trial.
The court also heard last year how Kelly had illegally obtained paperwork to marry singer Aaliyah when she was 15 in 1994, seven years before she died in a plane crash. The certificate, leaked at the time, listed Aaliyah’s age as 18. The marriage was annulled months later.
R. Kelly is still facing state charges of aggravated sexual abuse in Illinois and prostitution and solicitation charges in Minnesota.