June 14, 2008 in Nation/World

R. Kelly acquitted in child porn case

Michael Tarm Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

R&B singer R. Kelly exits the Cook County Criminal Court Building on Friday in Chicago after his child pornography trial.Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

CHICAGO – R. Kelly was acquitted of all charges Friday after less than a day of deliberations in his child pornography trial, ending a six-year ordeal for the R&B superstar.

Kelly dabbed his face with a handkerchief and hugged each of his four attorneys after the verdict – not guilty on all 14 counts – was read. The Grammy award-winning singer had faced 15 years in prison if convicted.

Minutes later, surrounded by bodyguards, he left the courthouse without comment. Dozens of fans screamed and cheered as he climbed into a waiting SUV.

“All I heard (from Kelly) while those 14 verdicts were being read was ‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus,’ ” said Sam Adam Jr., one of his attorneys.

Prosecutors had argued that a video tape mailed to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002 showed Kelly engaged in graphic sex acts with a girl as young as 13 at the time. Both Kelly, 41, and the now 23-year-old alleged victim had denied they were the ones on the tape. Neither testified during the trial.

“Robert said all along that he believed in our system and he believed in God – and that when all the facts came out in court, he would be cleared of these terrible charges,” according to a statement from his publicist, Allen Mayer. “But he never dreamed it would take six and a half years. This has been a terrible ordeal for him and his family and at this point all he wants to do is move forward and put it behind him.”

Jurors said that fact that neither the alleged victim nor her parents testified weakened the prosecution. But the real key was the woman herself: One juror said he just was not sure the female was who prosecutors said she was – or that she was a minor when the tape was made.

Another said that while he was convinced it was Kelly on the tape, he had doubts about the female. “What we had wasn’t enough,” said the juror, who declined to give his name.

Prosecutors relied in part on a star witness who said she engaged in three-way sex with Kelly and the girl. Defense attorneys labeled that woman an extortionist, claiming she sought hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kelly in exchange for her silence and stole his $20,000 watch at one point.

In just two days, Kelly’s lawyers called 12 witnesses. They included three relatives of the alleged victim who testified they did not recognize her as the female on the tape.

© Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email