CHICAGO– The defense for R. Kelly and two co-defendants rested Friday at the RSinger &B’s trial for trial rigging, child pornography and incitement to sex with minors.
They concluded their case after the main defense witness, co-defendant Kelly and former business manager Derrell McDavid, ended three days of testimony.
Prosecutors have the option of calling rebuttal witnesses and the parties will then present closing arguments. Jury deliberations are not expected to begin until next week.
Prosecutors are due to question R. Kelly’s former business manager on Friday – an interrogation that is sure to test the calm demeanor projected by the former accountant and star confidant during his time on the stand thus far.
SEE ALSO | ‘I told him I didn’t want to have sex’: 2 say they were sexually abused by R. Kelly when they were minors
Kelly and McDavid are accused of rigging Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial by threatening witnesses and concealing video evidence. Kelly was acquitted in 2008. He and McDavid also face child pornography charges at the federal trial in Chicago. A third co-defendant, Kelly’s associate Milton Brown, is accused of receiving child pornography.
McDavid was the only one of the three defendants to testify on his own behalf.
Kelly, 55, was previously sentenced to 30 years in prison in June after a separate federal trial in New York.
Kelly, known for his hit ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and sex-infused songs such as ‘Bump n’ Grind’, has sold millions of albums even after allegations of sexual misconduct began circulating around the world. the 1990s. Widespread outrage emerged after the #MeToo reckoning and the 2019 docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”
At times during his testimony this week, McDavid looked like a prosecution witness. He said he believed Kelly’s denials of child sexual abuse in the 2000s, but changed his view during the ongoing trial.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Jeannice Appenteng sought to show that McDavid was so close to Kelly that he could not completely ignore Kelly’s misconduct.
McDavid agreed that his job included protecting Kelly’s reputation and assets. Citing financial records, the prosecutor said Kelly paid him about $1 million a year from 2006. McDavid denied taking steps to fend off sexual misconduct lawsuits against Kelly primarily to protect his boss and his income Kelly’s lucrative.
In a sudden shift late Thursday, McDavid expressed doubts about Kelly’s insistence in the 2000s that he never sexually abused minors.
RELATED | R. Kelly trial: ex-girlfriend testifies singer’s partner suggested killing her on sex tape
Asked by his own attorney, Beau Brindley, if he was in “a different position” to assess the allegations against Kelly after witnessing government testimony by four of Kelly’s accusers, McDavid replied, “Yes, I am.”
“The past (few) weeks…I’ve learned a lot…that I had no idea in 2008,” he added.
McDavid, who previously testified that he once saw Kelly as a son, was also asked if he meant to believe Kelly in the 2000s, including up until the end of Kelly’s trial in 2008.
“I absolutely did,” he replied, “because I loved him and believed in him.”
McDavid’s testimony could lend credence to the charges Kelly faces alone – five counts of inciting underage girls for sex, one count each for five accusers. However, it is also in McDavid’s interest to say he believed Kelly was headed for the 2008 trial, as it undermines the government’s case that McDavid knew Kelly was guilty and thought the singer would be convicted if the evidence was not suppressed.
Judge Harry Leinenweber has repeatedly denied requests by Kelly’s defense team that he be tried alone because his interests and those of McDavid would conflict in a joint trial.
McDavid testified that he and Kelly separated after the 2008 trial amid financial disputes and that he quit working for Kelly in 2014.
The ongoing trial in Kelly’s hometown is, in a way, a rerun of the 2008 trial. A single video, which prosecutors say showed Kelly sexually abusing a girl around 14, was central of this trial. The same video is evidence at the ongoing trial.
The girl in the video, then an adult, did not testify in that 2008 trial, which jurors cited as a reason they could not convict. She testified at the current trial under the pseudonym “Jane”, saying she was the person in that video and that Kelly made the recording. She also said Kelly sexually assaulted her hundreds of times starting when she was 14.
McDavid testified Wednesday that he saw the then-teenager hanging out in Kelly’s studio in the late 1990s. He said Kelly angrily denied rumors that he was sexually abusing Jane, which Kelly described as her goddaughter.
“I believed him,” McDavid said.
Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.