Defense rests at R. Kelly trial on trial-fixing charges

Sep 9, 2022, 1:23 AM | Updated: 4:38 pm
FILE - Musician R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on June 6, 2019. Ke...

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)

(AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — The defense for R. Kelly and two co-defendants rested Friday at the R&B singer’s trial on charges of trial-fixing, child pornography and enticing minors for sex, with closing arguments and the start of jury deliberations scheduled for early next week.

Minutes before resting, Kelly co-defendant and ex-business manager Derrell McDavid ended three days on the stand. He testified for nearly two days that he had believed Kelly when he denied abusing minors — then said he started having doubts about Kelly’s believability during the trial that started last month.

Kelly and McDavid are charged with fixing Kelly’s 2008 state child pornography trial — at which Kelly was acquitted — by threatening witnesses and concealing video evidence. Both also face child pornography charges. A third co-defendant, Kelly associate Milton Brown, is accused of receiving child pornography.

Prosecutors normally get a chance to call witnesses in a rebuttal of the defense case. But when they told Judge Harry Leinenweber on Friday that they needed some time to prepare, he said there would be no rebuttal and the case would go straight to closing arguments Monday morning.

McDavid was the only one of the three defendants to testify in his own behalf.

Kelly, 55, already was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June after a separate federal trial in New York.

Known for his smash hit “I Believe I Can Fly” and for sex-infused songs such as “Bump n’ Grind,” Kelly sold millions of albums even after allegations of sexual misconduct began circulating in the 1990s. Widespread outrage emerged after the #MeToo reckoning and the 2019 docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”

During her cross-examination of McDavid, prosecutor Jeannice Appenteng sought to cast doubt on his testimony that, all through the 2000s, he was unaware that the sexual abuse allegations might have some credence.

During Kelly’s monthlong trial in 2008, which McDavid attended, state prosecutors played a 30-minute, sexually explicit video dozens of times on large screens throughout the courtroom. Prosecutors said it showed Kelly abusing a 14-year-old girl, “Jane.”

McDavid initially said he looked away every time the video was played but later conceded that he “glanced back and forth” at it, though not long enough to fully assess the content.

Appenteng also questioned McDavid about his claim that he wasn’t at a 2001 hotel room meeting with Jane and her parents, where government witnesses said Kelly admitted having sex with Jane, who regarded Kelly as her godfather.

McDavid testified that he drove to the hotel but remained outside in his car. “It was delicate,” he added.

“It was delicate,” the prosecutor shot back, “because Kelly admits (at the meeting) … he is having sex with his goddaughter.”

On Thursday, McDavid also denied intimidating anyone leading up to the 2008 trial. His lawyer asked if he ever threatened to kill Kelly’s ex-girlfriend Lisa Van Allen for having stolen a sex video from Kelly and for not being forthcoming about it, as she testified earlier.

“I’m an accountant. No,” he said.

At times, McDavid sounded more like a government witness.

In a sudden shift at the end of his second day of testimony Thursday, he expressed doubts about Kelly’s insistence in the 2000s that he never sexually abused minors.

Asked by his own lawyer, Beau Brindley, if he was in “a different position” to assess allegations against Kelly after sitting through government testimony by four Kelly accusers, including Jane, McDavid responded: “Yes, I am.”

“The last (few) weeks … I’ve learned a lot … that I had no idea about in 2008,” added McDavid, who previously had testified that he once saw Kelly as a son.

McDavid’s testimony could lend credence to the charges Kelly alone faces — five counts of enticing minor girls for sex, one count each for five accusers.

Judge Leinenweber repeatedly rejected requests from Kelly’s defense team that he be tried alone because his and McDavid’s interests would conflict at a joint trial.

The ongoing trial in Kelly’s hometown is, in ways , a do-over of the 2008 trial. The single video was at the heart of that trial and is also in evidence at the current trial.

Jane, then an adult, did not testify at that 2008 trial, which jurors cited as a reason they couldn’t convict Kelly. She testified at the current trial that she was the person in that video. She also said Kelly sexually abused her hundreds of times starting when she was 14.


Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at and find AP’s full coverage of the R. Kelly trial at

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


Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
1 day ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
1 day ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
2 days ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
2 days ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Defense rests at R. Kelly trial on trial-fixing charges