For a second time over the past two years, a federal jury found R. Kelly guilty of sex crimes involving minors on Wednesday. The R&B star, convicted last year in Brooklyn on sex-trafficking and racketeering charges, faced 13 counts in Chicago including child pornography, coercing a minor into criminal sexual activity, and obstructing the federal investigation connected to his 2008 child pornography trial. After about 11 hours of deliberations, according to the Chicago Tribune, jurors convicted him on six charges related to videotapes he made of himself sexually abusing his goddaughter, who was then 14 years old, in the late 1990s.
One of those tapes was the centerpiece of Kelly’s 2008 state trial in Chicago, in which he was acquitted. In this most recent trial, Kelly was found not guilty of fixing the earliest case, as were two co-defendants, his former employees Milton “June” Brown and Derrel McDavid. Brown and McDavid were acquitted on all charges.
After the verdict was delivered, U.S. Attorney John Lausch told reporters that Kelly faces 10 to 90 years in prison for the charges on which he was convicted, and that prosecutors would seek to have it served consecutively with his existing sentence. Earlier this year, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced Kelly to 30 years following his prior federal conviction. The singer is 55 years old.
At the heart of the 2008 trial was the absence of the videotaped victim, referred to in court as Jane. Kelly was acquitted largely due to the refusal of Jane and her family to testify, and he was able to continue his career at the heights of pop and R&B. Over the past few years, a surge in national attention towards the decades-long trail of sexual misconduct allegations against him culminated in federal prosecutors bringing two sets of charges of him. In his second Chicago trial, Jane took the witness stand and, the Tribune reported, explained why she had now decided to come forward. “I became exhausted with living with (Kelly’s) lies,” she told the jury.