R. Kelly’s Florida Child Porn Charges Dropped

Prosecutors choose not to appeal judge's suppression of photos.

Prosecutors in Polk County, Florida, have dropped their charges against R. Kelly after deciding not to appeal a judge’s decision to suppress evidence in the singer’s child pornography case there.

“I just found out,” R. Kelly’s Florida attorney Ron Toward said on Wednesday (March 17). “I can only say that we’re happy, and it’s the only sound legal decision in this case.”

Kelly had faced 12 counts of child pornography in Florida.

Judge Dennis Maloney ruled on Thursday that the prosecution could not introduce as evidence photos found on a digital camera, which police say show the singer having sex with an underage girl, due to a lack of probable cause for the search warrants (see “Judge Rules R. Kelly Photos Seized In Florida Can’t Be Used To Try Him” ). The camera was found during a June 2002 raid of Kelly’s rented Davenport, Florida, home.

Prosecutors decided not to pursue an appeal, Assistant State Attorney Chip Thulberry said, because they felt they did not have a “reasonable likelihood of success” of overturning Maloney’s decision based on constitutional case law. “The photos did provide ample evidence to press charges,” Thulberry said, “but this decision isn’t based on the evidence or guilt or innocence.”

“My faith in our system of justice has never wavered,” Kelly said in a statement issued Wednesday, “and with this victory behind me, I look forward to clearing my name in Illinois. As I’ve said before, I am confident that when all the facts come out, people will see that I’m no criminal.”

Thulberry said he didn’t anticipate the Florida case — or lack thereof — would impact the one facing Kelly in Chicago, where he remains charged with 14 counts of child pornography (see “Seven Of R. Kelly’s 21 Counts Of Child Pornography Tossed” ). “Even if we had gone forward with the charges, I doubt our evidence would have been used in Chicago,” Thulberry said.

Kelly is next due in court on the Chicago charges on April 2.

For full coverage of the R. Kelly case, see The R. Kelly Reports.