Warning: The following article contains potentially triggering material relating to sexual assault and violence. If you are a victim of sexual assault, call RAINN at 1-800-656-4673.
Jurors in R Kelly’s ongoing federal trial are expected to be shown videos of the disgraced R&B singer allegedly engaging in statutory rape with his then-14-year-old goddaughter, the New York Post reports.
Prosecutors alleged Wednesday that R. Kelly had videotaped himself raping multiple children, and that three of those tapes involve his goddaughter: “The defendant, Robert Kelly, had sex with multiple children,” Assistant US Attorney Jason Julien said. “He made videotapes of himself having sex with children.”
Prosecutors also said that Kelly went to “extraordinary” lengths to cover up evidence that he had committed statutory rape. Julien added that more videos would not be shown to jurors because Kelly and his co-defendants, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, allegedly covered up the footage. However, witnesses are expected to testify about it.
“[Kelly has] a hidden side, a dark side, that he — with the help of McDavid and Brown — did not allow the world to see,” Julien added regarding the videos. “This trial is about Kelly’s hidden side.”
On the other hand, Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean urged the jury to not think of her client as “a monster”: “It is true that Mr. Kelly is imperfect,” she said. “On his journey from poverty to stardom, he stumbled along the way.”
In June, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of racketeering related to the sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, and forced labor, as well as eight charges of violating the Mann Act, which outlaws the transportation of a person across state lines for illegal sexual activity.
But sexual misconduct charges have encumbered Kelly for decades, from his illegal marriage to a then-15-year-old Aaliyah in the ’90s to child pornography charges in 2002. He was acquitted on the latter charges in 2008, but the trial remains controversial; Kelly and two of his associates are currently facing charges in Illinois of bribing and intimidating witnesses in the case.