Friday, June 13, 2008

5584: R. Kelly Not Guilty.

From The Chicago Sun-Times…

R. Kelly not guilty on all counts


Six years after being charged with making and starring in a child porn video, R&B superstar R. Kelly was found not guilty today by a Cook County jury.

Jurors deliberated for about three hours Thursday and part of today before reaching their verdict. The jury cleared him on all 14 counts filed against him.

As the first “not guilty” was read, Kelly dipped his head and kept it bowed during the entire reading of the 14-count verdict.

When the reading was completed, he took a baby blue handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed the tears streaming down his face. He then bear-hugged his defense attorneys.

Kelly, who did not testify during his trial, faced up to 15 years in an Illinois prison.

When word of the verdict spread through the courthouse at 26th and California, some Cook County deputies as well as lawyers walking through the building’s first floor hallways cheered.

Outside the courthouse, a huge roar came up from about 75 waiting Kelly supporters. “I love him!” one woman shouted as Kelly left the building moments after the verdict was read. “I love him! Get that on camera!”

Kelly did not comment to reporters but a Kelly spokesman said the singer wanted to thank his fans “who stuck by him and supported him with such love. And most of all, he wants to thank God for giving him the strength to get through this.”

“Robert said all along that he believes in our system and he believes in God,”' said the spokesman, Allan Mayer. “He did not expect it to take six and half years. This has been a terrible ordeal for him and his family. At this point all he wants to do is to move forward and put it behind him.”

The case centered on a 27-minute videotape anonymously sent to Chicago Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis in 2002. Prosecutors said Kelly videotaped himself having sex with -- and urinating upon -- his underage goddaughter.

In closing arguments, the state said more than a dozen witnesses identified the alleged victim as being on the tape. Prosecutors also said there was no doubt that Kelly is the man on the tape and that the video was made in his Lake View basement some time between 1998 and 2000.

Defense attorneys keyed in on the fact that the victim, now an adult, has denied she’s the one on the tape. They noted that Kelly’s goddaughter is a “sweet, nice young lady,” and certainly wouldn’t have accepted cash for sex, as the girl in the tape is shown doing. In the weeks and months before the trial, legal experts around the globe said prosecutors would face an uphill battle convincing jurors of Kelly’s guilt without a victim willing to take the witness stand.

Kelly’s attorneys also told jurors that Kelly has a distinctive mole on his back that doesn’t appear on the videotape. Prosecutors brought in a video expert, who played the notorious sex video in slow motion, pointing out a dark spot clearly visible on the man’s back.

After the verdict, one of his attorneys, Sam Adam Jr., described his client as deeply religious.

“When they read the verdict you got to see the real Robert Kelly,” Adam Jr. said. “He sat there and he was crying. He was thanking God. He was saying ‘Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus’ after each count. He is not the man there doing those things to that woman.”

Asked who was on the tape if it wasn’t Kelly, Adam said: “If you find that out, let us know.”

Defense attorney Ed Genson praised the jurors as well as Judge Vincent Gaughan for their work during the trial -- and noted the length of the case.

“I’ve gone from middle aged to senior citizen,” Genson said.

Outside the courthouse, Chicago’s Leshi Agee, 25, shouted, “We love you!” to Kelly as the singer left in a black SUV.

“He looks so good,” said Agee. “Bye, baby.”

Agee, who came with her three children between the ages of 10 months and five years, said, “I knew he ain’t done it because he ain’t that type of person. They was hating on him. He proved everybody wrong.”

Fourteen-year-old Kewan Mackey said, “I knew he ain’t do it. I knew he was going to win. Money makes the world go around.”

Nicole Jones, 16, came down to the courthouse with 15-year-old sister Neshay Jones to support Kelly. They said they have avidly followed the case.

“I think this whole situation was about money,” Nicole said. “I think he’s innocent.”

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