The latest development in R. Kelly’s legal saga surrounds today’s opening statements in his Chicago federal trial. The R&B singer is facing charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice relating to a 2008 case of a similar nature involving five victims.
Today, the court heard the case’s opening statements from the defendant and plaintiff, just a few days after his manager was convicted for threatening a screening of Surviving R. Kelly.
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Prosecutors began the hearing with the following: “The defendant, Robert Kelly, had sex with multiple children. He made videotapes of himself having sex with children.” The prosecutor also pointed to two of Kelly’s co-defendants, ex-associates who allegedly knew of his crimes and helped cover them up.
The prosecution’s opening statements also mentioned “Jane,” the main accuser from the 2008 case that was allegedly videotaped multiple times having encounters with the R&B singer at the age of 14. They also confirmed Jane will testify in this case. According to the prosecution, Kelly engaged in various methods to keep Jane and her family quiet, including flying them out of the country and having his employees hide their identity or any connection to the individuals.
Four videotapes are being considered in this trial, and the jury will watch three of them, according to the prosecutors. At least one tape pertains directly to Jane, while the others could implicate more victims. Prosecutors accused Kelly of taking advantage of at least four minors and tampering with the 2008 trial that resulted in his acquittal.
Jennifer Bonjean, R. Kelly’s legal representative, said the singer is the victim of persecution driven by mob mentality — a mob that has come far too late to paint him as a monster when he was tried for these crimes. She labeled the accusers as “criminals” who, in their attempt to extort Kelly, have also secured immunity deals with the prosecutors. There is also a tape that prosecutors have referenced but refuse to play, which Bonjean has claimed does not exist. Kelly’s representative is also leaning heavily on Jane Doe’s past statements that she is not on tape with the singer.
Bonjean has called her client “imperfect” but innocent. R. Kelly has already been convicted of federal sex crimes in New York and has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.