October 3, 2023

R. Kelly is currently on trial in Chicago for child pornography and obstruction charges. The trial’s opening statements began today (August 17), following 12 hours of jury selection on Tuesday, with the prosecution team delivering the first statement, WGNTV and the Chicago Tribune report. “The defendant, Robert Kelly, had sex with multiple children,” Assistant United States Attorney Jason Julien reportedly said in the prosecution’s opening statement. “He made videotapes of himself having sex with children. And these two co-defendants, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, knew about it.”

Prosecutors claim that Kelly and his former employees, McDavid and Brown, paid off victims and witnesses in the singer’s 2008 child pornography trial. The three men have pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

The prosecution’s opening statement mentioned Kelly’s 2008 trial. In the earlier trial, Kelly was acquitted after being accused of filming a sex tape with an underage woman who later refused to testify in court. Prosecutors say that the woman and her parents will testify in the new trial, as The Associated Press notes.

In her opening statement, according to the Tribune, Kelly’s lead attorney Jennifer Bonjean said, “[Prosecutors] believe their evidence is going to show that he is a serial child sexual abuser. That’s what they believe.” She continued, “And it is true that Mr. Kelly is imperfect. It is true that on his journey from poverty to stardom that he stumbled along the way. It is important when the government wants to paint him as a monster that you remember we are talking about a human being. We implore you to keep those emotions in check.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out for support:

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1 800 656 HOPE (4673)

Crisis Text Line
(chat support)
SMS: Text “HERE” to 741-741

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