CHICAGO — Federal prosecutors filed a motion late Friday seeking to admit evidence of uncharged crimes at singer R. Kelly’s upcoming trial in New York, including new allegations of abuse involving at least 10 girls dating back to 1991 in Chicago.
Kelly, 54, is scheduled to go on trial in Brooklyn Aug. 9 on racketeering charges alleging he ran a criminal enterprise that recruited women and underage girls for illegal sexual contact, then isolated and threatened them to keep them under control. The allegations in the indictment include dozens of acts involving six victims, identified only as Jane Does 1 through 6.
But in their 55-page motion, prosecutors said they want to bring in additional evidence involving sexual abuse, hush payments, unlawful imprisonment and other crimes dating back 20 years that are “directly relevant to and inextricably intertwined with the evidence of the charged crimes.”
The motion lays out in the most detail yet how prosecutors intend to prove that Kelly’s musical career was essentially a criminal enterprise aimed at serving his own illegal sexual appetites.
Kelly’s attorneys have until July 30 to respond. Meanwhile, they are expected to file motions of their own seeking to include or exclude certain evidence at trial, which is to kick off in earnest on Aug. 18 with opening statements. The trial is expected to last a month or more.
Kelly, who is being held at a federal jail in Brooklyn, also faces charges in U.S. District Court in Chicago related to alleged sex abuse of minors, as well as separate indictments brought in Cook County.
Among the new evidence prosecutors want to present to the jury was that Kelly allegedly sexually abused a 17-year-old boy he’d met at a Chicago McDonald’s in December 2006 and videotaped the boy having sex with others.
Prosecutors also allege Kelly believed he’d impregnated 15-year-old phenom singer Aaliyah — identified only as Jane Doe #1 — in August 1994 and secretly arranged to marry her “in an effort to shield himself from criminal charges related to his illegal sexual relationship.” Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.
Prosecutors said they also want to play two videotapes for the jury that allegedly show Kelly physically and verbally abusing women, including one where he allegedly berates and threatens an 18-year-old woman whom Kelly believed had stolen from him.
The new evidence also includes events as recent as February 2019, when Kelly was back under criminal investigation due to the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” as well as a series of reports by Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis detailing the singer’s alleged enslavement of girls and young women.
Prosecutors want to show the jury evidence that Kelly and a member of his inner circle, who dubbed himself a “crisis manager,” talked about bribing a Cook County Circuit Court clerk for information about the ongoing probe.
“What you do, man, is write something on a piece of paper and give me what I should tip the bailiff,” Kelly told the manager in the conversation, which prosecutors said was pulled from a cellphone investigators seized.
Later in the same conversation, the manager allegedly told Kelly that he had paid a clerk in Cook County $2,500 and procured a “burner” telephone for the clerk in order to obtain information about Kelly’s legal trouble, prosecutors said in the motion.
“That’s done. ... You don’t know nothing.” Kelly allegedly responded.©2021 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.