It looks like the feds are not letting up on disgraced R&B singer and convicted sex offender R. Kelly.
Opening statements have officially started on Kelly’s 2nd federal trial in his hometown of Chicago. Last month, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering charges in New York. This time around, he’s facing charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice. TMZ reports that prosecutors said that the self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of R&B” had sex with multiple minors, videotaped the heinous acts, and went to extraordinary lengths to keep things quiet.
Prosecutors also pointed to the two co-defendants in the case, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, who are accused of helping Kelly bribe and intimidate witnesses for their silence.
There are four tapes involved in the trial, and TMZ reports that three of them will be shown to the jury. One of those tapes is directly related to the infamous 2008 trial that ended in Kelly’s acquittal on state child pornography charges. As you know, he was accused of having sex with and urinating on a then-14-year-old girl, who refused to testify at the time. That victim, now an adult, will take the stand in the federal case. She is expected to testify that Kelly and his associates paid her family to keep quiet, even sending them on a trip overseas on his dime. Three other alleged victims are also expected to testify.
Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, is denying the accusations on Kelly’s behalf. In her opening statement, she called the alleged victims “criminals” who are only trying to extort him. She also claims that the fourth tape that won’t be shown to the jury, simply, doesn’t exist. In addition, Bonjean is leaning on the 2008 victim’s long denial that she was on the tape.
Bonjean ultimately believes that Kelly is the victim of a “mob mentality” persecution. She attempted to have jurors dismissed if they’ve seen the Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly during jury selection earlier this week. That request was denied.