Following two days of closing arguments from the prosecution and defense teams, the jury in R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago finished its first day of deliberations on Tuesday afternoon.
Around 1 p.m., the jury started deliberating, and they finished their work for the day at 4:45 p.m. The discussion will pick back up at 9 a.m. Wednesday
On charges of child pornography, obstructing justice, and luring children for s*x, Kelly, 55, is accused on 13 counts. Along with him, two ex-colleagues are being prosecuted.
More than 30 witnesses testified over the course of four weeks, and the jury also viewed excerpts from three s*x recordings that, according to the prosecution, depict Kelly sexually abusing his goddaughter, who is 14 years old.
Derrel McDavid, Kelly’s former business manager, and Kelly are accused of colluding to cover up Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of children by purchasing back damaging videotapes and rigging the 2008 child pornography trial, which resulted in Kelly’s acquittal. Milton “June” Brown, Kelly’s former aide, is charged with acquiring child porn because of his alleged involvement in the plot to conceal the s*x videos.
In her closing statement on Tuesday morning, Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s main defense attorney, urged the jury to disregard their prior knowledge of the singer, recognizing that the majority of it was likely unfavorable, and to view him as a “John Doe.” According to Bonjean, the jury must base their verdict solely on the facts they heard in court, not on information they may have learned about Kelly through the media or from other sources.
In addition, Bonjean informed the jury that much of the “unflattering evidence” they had heard about Kelly had nothing to do with the allegations made against her. This included claims that Kelly had previously been the subject of sexual abuse lawsuits as well as testimony regarding s*x tapes with a baseball player’s wife and “even a man.” She said that because the evidence is unrelated to any of the allegations, the jury cannot take any of it into account.
No matter what the jury decides, Bonjean said, Kelly did some lovely things when it came to crafting music, and he shouldn’t “be robbed of every ounce of humanity he has.” Bonjean pointed to his 1990s ballad “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Additionally, Bonjean compared several of the prosecution’s witnesses—many of whom gave testimony while being granted immunity by the government—to discovering a cockroach in your soup. She advised discarding the soup rather than merely pulling out the cockroach and eating it if you find one in your soup.
The government’s case, according to Bonjean, mostly relies on the testimony of liars and blackmailers who appeared in court “to tell the government’s version of the truth.”
Prosecutors detailed Kelly’s 13 criminal offenses in detail during closing arguments on Monday, connecting the dots from four weeks of testimony.
“The truth has been revealed. if the defendants are found accountable on each charge in the indictment, “Elizabeth Pozolo, an assistant U.S. attorney, stated. “Over a long period of time, Robert Kelly abused numerous females, but he wasn’t acting alone. Robert Kelly’s secret self has now been revealed. The truth has been revealed.”
Pozolo also informed the jury in detailed detail of what they heard and saw on those videos, all of which involved “Jane,” including Kelly alluding to her as being 14 years old and Kelly peeing on Jane’s face, lips, and other body parts.
Pozolo declared that “her abuse is permanently documented.”
Four women testified during the trial that Kelly had molested them as girls. The state’s star witness, who went on record using the alias “Jane,” told the jury that Kelly started abusing her after becoming her godfather when she was only 14 and that they had hundreds of sexual encounters between the ages of 14 and 18.
Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and s*x trafficking in federal court in New York last year, and as a result, he has already received a 30-year prison sentence. He might spend many more years behind bars if found guilty of the federal accusations in Chicago.