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R. Kelly’s ‘hidden side’ on trial in Chicago, feds say

New York Daily News 8/17/2022 Joseph Wilkinson

R. Kelly’s federal trial on child sex charges began with prosecutors assailing the R&B superstar’s “hidden side” on Wednesday in Chicago.

The feds said most people knew Kelly for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly,” but he was abusing girls and women behind the scenes. That side of Kelly, 55, has become much more public in recent years following the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary and his conviction in New York on nine racketeering counts for running a sex abuse scheme for decades.

FILE - R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Sept. 17, 2019. © Antonio Perez FILE - R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Sept. 17, 2019.

FILE - R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Sept. 17, 2019. (Antonio Perez/)

Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for those convictions, but he still faces federal charges of enticing minors for sex, producing child pornography and bullying a potential witness at his 2008 child pornography trial in Illinois.

The singer’s defense attorneys said the feds would try to paint Kelly as a “monster” and victim of “mob justice.”

“When the government wants to paint him as a monster … you remember we are talking about a human being,” lawyer Jennifer Bonjean told the jury.

Four women are expected to testify that Kelly enticed them for sex while they were minors. Kelly faces four counts in connection with those four women.

Though they will be the central figures in this case, prosecutors spoke in their opening statements about the many girls and women who have accused Kelly of sexual abuse going back decades. They said Kelly raped “multiple girls, hundreds of times,” many of whom were between 14 and 16 years old.

Front page for June 30, 2022: Sex-traffic victims tell court of abuse and horror as R. Kelly is sentenced. R. Kelly reacts during hearing in 2019 (main photo) and is sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan court (inset) to 30 years for sex trafficking. © Provided by New York Daily News Front page for June 30, 2022: Sex-traffic victims tell court of abuse and horror as R. Kelly is sentenced. R. Kelly reacts during hearing in 2019 (main photo) and is sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan court (inset) to 30 years for sex trafficking.

Front page for June 30, 2022: Sex-traffic victims tell court of abuse and horror as R. Kelly is sentenced. R. Kelly reacts during hearing in 2019 (main photo) and is sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan court (inset) to 30 years for sex trafficking.

The case will also revolve around allegations about the 2008 trial in which Kelly was acquitted on state charges of child pornography. That trial was centered around a video that showed Kelly having sex with a girl who was reportedly no older than 14.

Though prosecutors played the video repeatedly at trial, the girl, referred to in court documents as “Minor 1,” and her family members did not testify.

“Minor 1′s mother did not want to go up against Kelly’s power, money and influence by not following what he said,” the feds said in a court filing.

Kelly allegedly paid for the family to fly to the Bahamas and Mexico before isolating the girl in different hotels during the trial.

But this time could be different: “Minor 1,” now a woman in her 30s, plans to testify in federal court.

Federal prosecutors said Kelly and the girl had sex “hundreds of times” in a log cabin-themed room in Kelly’s home on the North Side of Chicago. They also said Kelly carried a duffel bag full of sex tapes around with him throughout the 2000s.

Two other men, both associated with Kelly, are charged in the case. Derrel McDavid is accused of helping Kelly bully the witness at his 2008 trial. Milton Brown is charged with receiving child pornography. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The trial is expected to last about a month. Kelly’s New York trial took just as long.

With News Wire Services

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