Day 1 of jury deliberations end without verdict in R. Kelly's Chicago trial

R&B singer charged with trial-fixing, child pornography and enticing minors for sex

ByLeah Hope, Liz Nagy, and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Day 1 of jury deliberations end without verdict in R. Kelly trial
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R. Kelly is charged with trial-fixing, child pornography and enticing minors for sex. His fate now rests in the hands of a Chicago jury.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The fate of R. Kelly and his two former employees now rests in the hands of a jury at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago.

Closing arguments concluded Tuesday morning and the jury began deliberating at 1:04 p.m. Jurors were dismissed for the day around 4:40 p.m. and will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Jurors will need to weigh 13 charges against the three defendants as they debate whether R. Kelly will serve more time in federal prison on child pornography charges dating back decades.

The disgraced singer, once a music industry icon, is on trial with two men intertwined with Kelly's career, including his former business manager, Derrel McDavid.

Jurors heard nine hours of closing arguments in the fifth week of this trial. Kelly is accused of creating child pornography and all three men are accused of trying to hide sex videos of Kelly with minors and silence witnesses during Kelly's Cook County prosecution in 2008.

Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly's attorney, argued Tuesday: "This man did some beautiful things with his music. And he should not be stripped of every bit of humanity... I ask more importantly and to remember each count counts and take the time you need...Mr. Kelly deserves it no matter what you think of him."

Federal prosecutors had the final say, arguing that activities of the three was conspiracy to thwart criminal prosecution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice Appenteng told the jury: "That case was fixed because Kelly, McDavid and others caused Jane and her family to lie to the grand jury."

She concluded: "Find Robert Kelly guilty of sexually abusing these young women....Find Mr. McDavid and Mr. Brown guilty for agreeing with Kelly to cover up the videos."

Kelly's attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, spoke about the challenges of public opinion, ahead of the trial.

"I do think it has come into focus how much Mr. Kelly has been prejudiced having a joint trial," Bonjean said.

Kelly's attorney argued for hours that federal prosecutors did not prove their case and that their evidence is flawed based on testimony from liars and extortionists.

SEE MORE: R. Kelly trial: Defense for singer, co-defendants rest; prosecution rebuttal to begin next week

At one point Monday, a female juror told the judge she felt like she was having a panic attack and said she couldn't continue to serve on the jury. She will be replaced with a male alternate juror.

Kelly was already sentenced to 30 years in prison, after he was convicted in a separate case in New York. Now he faces more years in prison in his federal trial in Chicago.

This complaint also names Kelly's former manager, Derrel McDavid, and employee, Milton Brown, for allegedly paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover child sex tapes.

"Derrel McDavid is not guilty, and that is the right answer," defense attorney Beau Brindley said. "And we feel very confident that the jury will reach that answer."

A key witness for the government is a woman who calls herself Jane and identified herself in videos with Kelly when she was 14 years old.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo argued Monday, "He took advantage of his position, his fame and her youth. He took advantage for his own pleasure."

SEE MORE: R. Kelly jury views graphic videos of alleged sexual encounters with a minor

Pozolo went on to argue that the three - Kelly, his former business manager and former assistant - conspired to conceal evidence and thwart criminal prosecution in Cook County when the video of Jane became public.

"Kelly and his team did their best to cover up the fact that this R&B star R Kelly is a sexual predator," Pozolo said.

Early in the trial, federal prosecutors called an expert who testified about child predators and grooming behavior, which can lead a child to think they are special and their activity is normal, and it often takes years for the individuals to see the activity as abuse.

RELATED: Nearly $28K taken from R. Kelly's inmate commissary account for restitution in New York conviction

Prosecutor Pozolo concluded her argument, saying, "Robert Kelly manipulated girls over many years, and he committed horrible crimes against children. And he didn't do it alone."

Each defendant's attorney made a closing argument, too.

The attorney for Derrel McDavid - Kelly's former business manager - argued those who testified about McDavid's involvement in any conspiracy lied before and during the trial.

"Don't give into guilt by association because that's all the government has," Beau Brindley, McDavid's attorney, told jurors.

Additionally, Brindley argued McDavid believed Kelly's goddaughter, who was 14 years old at the time, was not the girl in the sex tape.

"The information he had then is different than what he has now," Brindley said.

Mary Judge, the attorney for Kelly's former assistant, Milton Brown, argued that Brown was not part of any conspiracy, saying, "It proved he was doing his job and that is all it proves."

ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer weighed in on the possible repercussions of the trial.

"If convicted here, R. Kelly is looking at decades in jail, and we have to remember he already has been sentenced to decades in jail in the New York conviction, so effectively we're looking at life imprisonment for him," Soffer said. "The judge could decide to let him serve them concurrently to the sentence in New York. If he gets more time here in Chicago than he did in NY, he'll serve those extra years on top of it. He's still appealing the New York case. If he wins that appeal, then the only sentence he'd be looking at is the one here in Chicago."