R. Kelly’s attorneys begin protection; he says he will not testify

R. Kelly’s attorneys started mounting a protection Thursday in Chicago towards federal prices of kid pornography, enticement of minors for intercourse and fixing his 2008 state trial, with an preliminary witness contending the singer was himself a sufferer of blackmail.

The presentation to jurors gained’t embody Kelly taking the witness stand.

Judge Harry Leinenweber requested Kelly immediately on Thursday morning if he would testify, and the Grammy Award winner responded that he wouldn’t.

The decide raised the difficulty minutes earlier than attorneys for Kelly and two co-defendants started calling their first witnesses, in an effort to to counter two weeks of presidency testimony — together with from 4 ladies who accused Kelly of sexual abuse.

Co-defendant Derrel McDavid, a longtime Kelly enterprise supervisor, is accused of serving to Kelly rig the 2008 trial, at which Kelly was acquitted. McDavid mentioned he’ll testify. Co-defendant Milton Brown is charged with receiving little one pornography. Like Kelly, Brown mentioned he wouldn’t testify.

Testifying would have been dangerous as a result of Kelly has exploded in anger underneath powerful questioning, which may damage his protection.

He misplaced his cool in a 2019 interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning.” As she pressed him about accusations of sexual abuse, he jumped up, crying and gesticulating. “I didn’t do this stuff!” he shouted. “This is not me! I’m fighting for my … life!”

Lawyers for all three defendants are primarily sharing witnesses. McDavid’s authorized group referred to as the primary protection witness, McDavid good friend and former police officer Christopher G. Wilson. He testified that McDavid instructed him in 2001 {that a} merchandizing agent for Kelly, Charles Freeman, was making an attempt to blackmail the R&B star.

Freeman testified earlier for the government that Kelly and his associates agreed to pay him $1 million to seek out and return a video that featured Kelly, describing how he was handed baggage full of money as cost. He mentioned the cash was for providers rendered, not an extortion bid. Prosecutors say the funds have been a part of a conspiracy to impede investigators main as much as Kelly’s 2008 trial.

Under cross-examination, Wilson conceded he didn’t immediately witness anybody making an attempt to extort Kelly, saying he was counting on what McDavid instructed him.

A conviction on only one or two of the fees on the Chicago trial may add years to a 30-year sentence Kelly already acquired from a New York federal decide in June for convictions on racketeering and intercourse trafficking prices.

Via witnesses Thursday, the protection additionally sought to lift doubts concerning the ages of some accusers, saying no less than one could have been 17, the age of consent in Illinois, on the time Kelly pursued her for intercourse.

There was nothing essentially sinister about Kelly or his employees dealing in money, one other protection witness, former Kelly studio intern Tom Arnold, instructed jurors. Kelly not often used his personal bank cards and most well-liked money transactions, added Arnold, who mentioned he as soon as carried $125,000 to Kelly in a backpack.

The spotlight of prosecutors’ presentation was the testimony two weeks in the past of a 37-year-old lady who used the pseudonym “Jane.” She described Kelly sexually abusing her a whole lot of occasions beginning in 1998 when she was 14 and Kelly was round 30.

Closing arguments are anticipated in the course of subsequent week.

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