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 News Archive: R. Kelly

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 Why doesn't it matter if he's been set up? ...

Page 2

 Is the man in the tape R. Kelly — or could it be someone else? ...

Page 3

 Does R. Kelly have a thing for underage girls? ...

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 "I am confident people will see that I'm no criminal."

R. Kelly: In His Own Words

 R. Kelly Reports

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"First of all," Kelly told MTV News in 2002, "If it's just about young girls, that's just not me. Because I'm not I haven't done that. You suppose if you were innocent about something, [you'd be] ready to fight. But I want people to know that there's a difference when you're famous. I wish I hadn't settled those [suits]. I can't do anything about that now. My lawyers told me that I should settle, because I had a lot of things going on, some hits was out at the time, and it was R. Kelly rising, you know? At the time those people came at me, the lawyers [were saying] it was best for me to not go on with this, because it could mess [me] up career-wise. I regret that. If it was today, I'd fight."

R. Kelly and Aaliyah
But there's one relationship with an underage girl that Kelly can't dispute. Although prosecutors can't call the late singer Aaliyah to the stand, they can introduce evidence of Kelly's illicit marriage to her in 1994 — when she was 15 years old. To obtain a marriage license, the couple lied about Aaliyah's age. When her parents found out, they had the marriage annulled.

"Aaliyah is gone now," Kelly said. "Out of respect for her, and her mom and her dad, I will not discuss Aaliyah. That was a whole other situation, a whole other time, it was a whole other thing, and I'm sure that people also know that."

Kelly isn't on trial for having or filming sex with any of the girls who've settled with him; even if evidence concerning them were admitted in court, it could only be used for supplementary purposes, to establish a pattern of behavior. Kelly's lawyers are likely to fight the admission of any such evidence, on the ground that it's not relevant to the child-pornography charges he's actually facing. But prosecutors might argue that such evidence is valid, because some of the girls claim that videotaping was also involved in their encounters with Kelly.

"We know they were all taken to his recording studios and there were cameras all over," Loggans said. "I don't think these girls were aware that those cameras were running."

Neither was Montina Woods, or so she alleges. Of all the women who are known to have filed civil suits against Kelly, Woods is the only one not claiming she was underage when she had sex with him. The 35-year-old dancer/actress is concerned about the invasion of her privacy. She alleges that, unknown to her, Kelly taped their sexual encounter and allowed the footage to be taken out of his possession, leading to its inclusion on widely distributed bootleg sex tapes. Woods' case is still pending, but she and her lawyer are also on the witness list. Kelly's lawyers have dismissed her allegations.

"This one falls under the category of people just piling on," Kelly spokesperson Allan Mayer said when she filed. "[Woods] herself says it was consensual. She's a grown woman, not a kid. We're confident that the court will toss this one into the trash, where it belongs."

And When the Gavel Drops?

Of course, no one knows what will happen when the R. Kelly case goes to court. And nobody seems to know when it will go to court, either: Kelly was indicted nearly six years ago, in June of 2002. It's taken more time than Snoop Dogg's 1993-95 accessory-to-murder case took to come to trial (23 months), or Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' 2000-01 attempted-murder case (12 months). And in another Chicago underage-sex case, in 1994-95 involving former Illinois Congressman Mel Reynolds, the pretrial period was only 11 months. So what's the holdup?

Both the prosecution and the defense — with Kelly in tow — have appeared repeatedly, about once a month, before Judge Vincent Gaughan, but the case continues to languish. R. Kelly's career, both in the studio and on tour, have required that his defense team spend considerable time securing the right for their client to travel and earn a living (per the terms of his bond, he needs the court's permission to leave the state).

A perhaps unintended effect of the delays may weigh in Kelly's favor: Attorneys we consulted with point out that the longer the case drags out, the less interested the public becomes in the charges leveled against Kelly, the older the alleged victim becomes, and the less she'll look like the young girl on the tape when she finally does appear in court.

"I am confident that when all the facts come out, people will see that I'm no criminal."
Although such intangible factors fall outside the nuts and bolts of the case, history has shown that intangibles can be just as influential as concrete evidence. And one can never underestimate the celebrity factor when it comes to jury selection, particularly for a hometown hero. Despite what the prosecution believes is a strong case — it all comes down to the jury.

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