Ex-employee testifies he now has reservations about R. Kelly's denials of abuse

FILE - Musician R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on June 6, 2019. Kelly’s federal trial starts Monday in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)

An ex-business manager for R. Kelly and his co-defendant at the singer's federal trial in Chicago expressed questions on the witness stand Thursday about Kelly's claims in the 2000s that he had never sexually abused youngsters, a day after testifying that he had no reason to suspect Kelly's veracity.

The evidence of Derrell McDavid, which might be devastating to Kelly's chances of acquittal, occurred after McDavid's second day on the stand. He and the Grammy winner are accused of rigging Kelly's 2008 trial for child pornography by threatening witnesses and hiding video evidence. Both are also charged with child pornography.

McDavid said solemnly, "Yes, I am," when asked by his attorney, Beau Brindley if he was now in a "different position" to evaluate the charges against Kelly after hearing the government testimony of four Kelly accusers.

"In recent (few) weeks... "I've learned a great deal that I did not know in 2008," he remarked. When he continued, "As I stand here today, I am embarrassed and sad," Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly's lead attorney, protested. Judge Harry Leinenweber upheld her protest.

McDavid, who stated earlier that he once viewed Kelly as a son, was also asked on Thursday if he wanted to believe Kelly throughout the 2000s and to the conclusion of Kelly's 2008 trial.

He responded, "Absolutely, because I loved him and believed in him."

It is in McDavid's best interest to claim that he believed Kelly for most of the 2000s since it weakens the government's claim that he knew Kelly was guilty before the 2008 trial and would be convicted if evidence wasn't concealed.

With the jury had left the courtroom earlier, Bonjean expressed concern that McDavid would cast doubt on Kelly's credibility, as he ultimately did. She stated that it would unduly prejudice jurors against her client and on certain counts seal his doom.

Kelly's defense team has repeatedly requested that his trial be separated from McDavid's and that he be tried separately, arguing that their interests will unavoidably collide in a joint trial. This request has been routinely denied by Leinenweber.

Five counts of luring teenage girls to engage in sexual activity comprise one count for each of Kelly's five accusers during her present trial. McDavid's testimony at the end of Thursday's business day could lend credibility to these charges.

On Friday, prosecutors will begin what could be a fiery cross-examination of McDavid. McDavid's extended testimony appeared to open the way for prosecutors to question him on otherwise off-limits subjects, including information introduced by state prosecutors at Kelly's 2008 trial.

Earlier on Thursday, McDavid testified that the attempt to recover alleged Kelly sex videos before the 2008 trial was not pushed by himself or Kelly, but rather by Ed Genson, Kelly's now-deceased criminal attorney.

With this testimony, McDavid attempted to separate himself from his choices to chase films aggressively ahead of the 2008 trial, including offering six-figure rewards for lost or stolen videos.

In some ways, the ongoing trial in Kelly's hometown is a rerun of the 2008 proceeding. The prosecution hinged on a single video, which, according to state prosecutors, showed Kelly sexually abusing a child around 14 years old. The identical footage is admissible in the current trial.

The girl in the video, who was an adult at the time of the 2008 trial, did not testify, which jurors cited as one of the reasons they could not convict Kelly. She testified at the current trial using the alias "Jane."

When asked on Thursday for the first time in two days how he felt when the 2008 jury acquitted Kelly of all charges, the normally dry and matter-of-fact McDavid sounded upset for the first time.

His voice seemed to crack as he stated, "I was happy."

During a lunch break during McDavid's evidence, McDavid stood next to Kelly, who was seated at his defense table, and the two conversed amicably.

McDavid told the jury on Thursday that he and Kelly grew apart in the years following the 2008 trial, with financial conflicts highlighting their friction. He said that he quit working for Kelly in 2014.

McDavid testified on Wednesday that he observed Jane as juvenile loitering around Kelly's studio in the late 1990s. According to him, Kelly vehemently refuted reports that he sexually abused Jane, whom Kelly regarded as his goddaughter.

"I believed him," testified McDavid.

Jane, now 37, testified earlier that Kelly sexually abused her hundreds of times beginning when she was 14 years old. She also claimed to be the girl depicted in the video at the center of the 2008 trial and presented as evidence in the current trial. She stated that Kelly created it.

McDavid is the only defendant of the three to testify on his behalf. Both Kelly and the third co-defendant, Milton Brown, informed the trial court last week that they would not testify.

This trial follows a separate federal proceeding in New York, where 55-year-old Kelly was sentenced to thirty years in June.

Publish : 2022-09-09 16:02:00

Give Your Comments