*Fourteen years ago today, R. Kelly thought he had gotten away with his crimes against young girls.
And he nearly did. On June 13, 2008, a Chicago jury acquitted the singer of all 14 child pornography charges leveled against him, stemming from the infamous 27-minute sex tape that prosecutors alleged showed him having sex with his 13-year-old goddaughter. The girl denied that she was the victim in the footage, so the case was pretty much doomed from the start.
The jury had to watch that tape. Jury foreman, Jamon Mytty, told Rolling Stone in September that the panel was initially divided about the video, saying the vote, “was probably six-six, seven-five, fairly evenly split amongst guilty and non-guilty.” He added, “When we realized that we had to key in on the fact of, ‘Is the person in this video the alleged victim?,’ we realized we couldn’t say that beyond a reasonable doubt. It pretty quickly moved to a unanimous decision.”
Mytty further explains the jury’s decision to acquit below:
But hold on. Michael Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer representing several future R. Kelly victims, and who is currently in jail for defrauding former client and former Donald Trump sidepiece Stormy Daniels, said in 2019 that Kelly paid the child pornography victim at least $2 million not to testify against him, which all but sealed his acquittal. Avenatti held a news conference in 2019 to reveal what he said has been a years-long effort by Kelly to keep his sexual abuse of several girls from becoming public. He said Kelly paid at least one associate $100,000 to hunt down videos of him having sex with a minor that had gone missing. Watch below:
Thirteen years later, a jury in Brooklyn found R. Kelly guilty of racketeering and multiple violations of the Mann act following a six-week trial. On September 27, 2021, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all nine counts of the verdict sheet. While the 2008 case involved just one victim – who refused to testify, the Brooklyn trial found Kelly had abused multiple women and underage girls over several decades.
He is currently awaiting sentencing on June 29. The U.S. Attorney’s Office last week recommended a sentence in excess of 25 years, citing the seriousness of the offenses, the need for specific deterrence and the need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant. Kelly’s legal team is hoping for a maximum of 17 years in prison, under federal sentencing guidelines.
The Breakfast Club discussed the government’s sentencing recommendation on Thursday.