Business manager

Former R. Kelly business manager Derrel McDavid acquitted on all counts

For two days on the witness stand, Derrel McDavid said – repeatedly – that he had hired “the best in the business” to represent his star client, R. Kelly, as the singer faced allegations of sexual abuse of underage girls in the early 2000s.

Kelly’s star-studded legal team, led by legendary attorney Ed Genson, successfully secured Kelly’s acquittal in the singer’s child pornography trial in 2008 – although more than a decade later, federal prosecutors would say that McDavid, Kelly and Kelly’s assistant, Milton “June” Brown, had bolstered the defense with an elaborate and expensive cover-up scheme.

As Judge Harry D. Leinenweber read a series of not guilty verdicts on the four counts against him on Wednesday, McDavid fired from his seat, raised both arms in the air and wrapped his own lawyer, Vadim Glozman, in a bear hug. .

Derrel McDavid, center, grabs the shoulders of his attorneys Beau Brindley, left, and Nadim Glozman Wednesday in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago.

Tyler Pasciak LaRivière/Sun-Times

The emotion was a stark contrast to the relaxed demeanor the 61-year-old accountant had affected during the five weeks he spent in a federal courtroom, including two days he himself spent at the witness stand. McDavid was accused of helping coordinate a decades-long coverage of child sexual abuse by Kelly, with help from Brown, who was also acquitted on Wednesday of the single charge he faced during of the trial.

Kelly was found guilty of six of the 13 counts he faced, including producing child pornography.

“I loved Mr. Genson, I loved all my lawyers, all my friends,” McDavid told a phalanx of cameras in the lobby of Dirksen’s federal courthouse after the verdict. “These two men are heirs to the throne.”

Although he passed away in 2020, Genson was a key figure in McDavid’s defense. McDavid testified that Kelly’s former legal team of Genson, entertainment attorney Gerry Margolis and private investigator Jack Palladino convinced him that allegations that Kelly filmed himself having sex with a 14-year-old daughter were just the latest in a string of false allegations during Kelly’s peak years of stardom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Margolis and Palladino also died.

McDavid pointed to the girl in question, a teenager Kelly considered her own “goddaughter,” and her parents had all vehemently denied the charges to police, a grand jury and Kelly’s attorneys. However, she cooperated with the federal investigation which began in 2019 and, now 37, was the star witness against Kelly this time around.

On the helm, McDavid said he took on Kelly as a client before the entertainer embarked on a meteoric rise that included Grammy awards and performances at the Olympics – and made millions of dollars.

At the time of Kelly’s 2008 trial, McDavid admitted he believed in Kelly, his friend and client, but conceded on the stand that what he had learned in the years since his split from the star had left “embarrassed” – although he didn’t say if he thought Kelly was guilty.


Milton “June” Brown leaves Dirksen’s federal courthouse on Wednesday after being acquitted of all charges in his trial with singer R. Kelly in Chicago.

Contributor: David Struett, Emmanuel Camarillo