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Jury for R. Kelly's federal racketeering trial begins deliberating, will resume next week

Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK — R. Kelly’s fate is now in the hands of the jury at his federal trial in New York.

After a six-week trial featuring the testimony of 50 witnesses and three days of closing arguments, jurors in the racketeering case against the Chicago-born R&B star began their deliberations early Friday afternoon, and worked for about four hours before telling U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly they had “not reached a verdict as yet.”

They are scheduled to come back for more discussions on Monday morning.

Donnelly took three hours to read through more than 80 pages of jury instructions before sending the panel of seven men and five women back to begin going through the nine-count indictment.

With the conclusion of the lengthy trial near, a large contingent of television news crews had set up tents across from the courthouse on Cadman Plaza in downtown Brooklyn.

In the park across the street, about a dozen Kelly supporters danced and shouted Friday afternoon as the hit song “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” by Jay-Z and Kelly blared over a speaker.

 

Some wore T-shirts with an image of Kelly attorney Deveraux Cannick and the slogan, “Cannick Don’t Panic.”

About an hour and a half into their deliberations, the jury sent a note asking for the transcript of testimony from one of the victims, Sonja, who alleged she was held captive at Kelly’s old Larrabee Street music studio and sexually assaulted by the singer. The jury also asked for a copy of the studio floor plan.

The note also requested a copy of the letter that another alleged victim, “Jane,” had purportedly written to her brother about her relationship with Kelly.

Kelly, 54, was charged in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn in 2019 with heading a criminal enterprise that employed agents, runners, bodyguards and others to lure and trap girls and young women to satisfy his sexually predatory desires.

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