R. Kelly’s lawyer disappointed with guilty verdict
NEW YORK (AP):
R. Kelly'a lawyer, Deveraux Cannick, said he was disappointed by yesterday's verdict as his client was found guilty of racketeering.
"I think I'm even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place given all the inconsistencies," Cannick said. He accused the government of having "cherry-picked" evidence to suit their case against the singer.
He said: "You didn't get to see what we saw in terms of the discovery. You didn't get to see all the inconsistencies. We said in our summation that the government cherry-picked their version that they thought would support the continuation of the narrative. Why would he expect this verdict given all the inconsistencies that we saw."
Despite years of allegations, Kelly's records and concert tickets kept selling and other artistes continued to record his songs.
But widespread public condemnation didn't come until a widely watched docuseries Surviving R. Kelly helped make his case a signifier of the #MeToo era, and gave voice to accusers who wondered if their stories were previously ignored because they were Black women.
At the trial, several of Kelly's accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy and prevent possible harassment by the singer's fans. Jurors were shown homemade videos of Kelly engaging in sex acts that prosecutors said were not consensual.
Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Kelly was a serial abuser who "maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook."
The defence labelled the accusers "groupies" and "stalkers."
Cannick questioned why the alleged victims stayed in relationships with Kelly if they thought they were being exploited.
"You made a choice," Cannick told one woman who testified, adding, "You participated of your own will."
Kelly, given name Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been jailed without bail since in 2019. The trial was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and Kelly's last-minute shake-up of his legal team.
When it finally started on August 18, prosecutors painted the 54-year-old singer as a pampered man-child and control freak. His accusers said they were under orders to call him 'Daddy', expected to jump and kiss him anytime he walked into a room, and to cheer only for him when he played pick-up basketball games in which they said he was a ball hog.
The accusers alleged that they also were ordered to sign non-disclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as 'Rob's rules'. Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.
Some of the most harrowing testimony came from a woman who said Kelly took advantage of her in 2003 when she was an unsuspecting radio station intern. She testified he whisked her to his Chicago recording studio, where she was kept locked up and was drugged before he sexually assaulted her while she was passed out. She said one of Kelly's employees warned her to keep her mouth shut about what had happened.
The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. Trial dates in those cases have yet to be set.