Saved Again R. Kelly: Not Guilty on All Counts

JGoode | 6/18/2008, 10:21 p.m.
“Not guilty” have to be two words R&B entertainer R. Kelly has wanted to hear for a long time. In ...

“Not guilty” have to be two words R&B entertainer R. Kelly has wanted to hear for a long time. In his heart of hearts, he knew it was true. He just wanted justification for the world. On June 13, 2008, in an Illinois courtroom, R. Kelly’s wish came true. He was acquitted on all 14 counts of child pornography.

R. Kelly himself could not have produced a better ending. After six years of delaying, the trial is now a distant memory in the Grammy Award-winning singer’s history. It all began in February 2002, when a videotape arrived at the Chicago Sun-Times. Evidence like this is a reporter’s dream, so it was no surprise that the newspaper broke the story of child pornography against Kelly. Four months later, Kelly was charged with 21 counts of having sex with a minor. Later the charges were reduced to 7 counts each of videotaping the acts and producing child pornography since no actual sexual intercourse was shown on the tape. Trial proceedings officially started on May 20, 2008, after a jury of 9 men and 3 women were chosen. Prosecutors laid out a case that had “concrete evidence” according to them. They had the 27 minutes of tape that depicted a man resembling Kelly and an underaged victim. Enough said, or so they thought. Kelly’s lawyers had a different spin on the “concrete evidence.” They claimed what the prosecution had was a taped recording fabricated by Kelly’s former singing protégé Sparkle, his ex-manager Barry Hankerson, the woman who claimed to have had a 3 way sexual tryst with Kelly and the alleged underage victim Lisa Van Allen, and Van Allen’s fiancé Yui Brown. Minor details of the tape took center focus as lawyers debated about birthmarks, hairstyles, and taping equipment. Closing arguments had the state reviewing their “concrete evidence” and had Kelly’s lawyers saying a guilty verdict would be like calling the underage victim a whore 14 times. In the end, the 27 minutes of tape was not enough to convict the Grammy Award winning star.

If there is reasonable doubt then a jury is not supposed to convict and that was the case in the saga of the Kelly trial. “You want to be 100 percent sure it’s Kelly (and the alleged victim),” one juror said. “What we had wasn’t enough.” Jurors had a number of issues that caused confusion. One such source was whether the man in the video was Kelly, who has a noticeable mole on his back, that the man depicted in the tape did not have. Also causing some bewilderment to jurors was the age of the alleged victim. In the tape the alleged victim appeared to be older than the reported age of 13. The number one reason why Kelly is a free man is because the alleged victim could not be positively identified. Three relatives said the alleged victim was not their family member while others testified that she was. Allow me to also point out that the alleged victim and her parents say it is not she and said it under oath to the grand jury. This leaves room for a lot of doubt. “The key problem was the identity of the female. Her absence was a major lack of evidence,” said juror #23. “This shows the world how difficult this crime was to prosecute,” said Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Shauna Boliker.

Knowing all this I have one question. Are we as Americans so hard up for money that we will attempt to get it no matter the cost? I say this because this is not the first time Kelly has been accused of being with underage girls. His marriage to the underage R & B princess Aaliyah is testament to this fact. So if he has this reputation why would any parent put his/her child in a situation with a grown man for something so tragic to happen? Is the dollar bill worth a child’s dignity? I mean really people.

Nonetheless, the trial of R. Kelly is finally over. Unfortunately, it is not the last time Kelly will face legal trouble. No, there is not another pornography case in dispute. A man by the name of Uncle Henry Love is suing the star over stolen dance moves. Some people just can’t win for losing.