Disgraced singer R. Kelly has been described as having a “dark side” in the opening speeches of his second trial.
Now he is undertaking a separate trial on child pornography and obstruction charges, which began in Chicago on Wednesday (August 17).
R Kelly, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, is accused of obstructing justice, obtaining and creating child pornography, as well as encouraging minors into sexual conduct. He is also accused of a total of 13 offences.
“The defendant, Robert Kelly, had sex with multiple children,” Assistant United States Attorney Jason Julien said in the prosecution’s opening statement, as reported by Chicago Tribune.
“He made videotapes of himself having sex with children. And these two co-defendants, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, knew about it.”
“And he kept those videos close, because if the world found out that he was having sex with children, he’d be in a lot of trouble, and it would ruin his career.”
Julien also told jurors that while Kelly is famous around the world for his music, he “had another side, a hidden side, a dark side” that he “did not allow the world to see for years.”
Kelly and his former employees McDavid and Brown are accused by the prosecution of paying off witnesses, parents and victims in the singer's 2008 child pornography trial. To the accusations, the three men claim they are not guilty.
Kelly’s lead attorney Jennifer Bonjean said in her opening statement: “[Prosecutors] believe their evidence is going to show that he is a serial child sexual abuser. That’s what they believe.
“And it is true that Mr. Kelly is imperfect. It is true that on his journey from poverty to stardom that he stumbled along the way. It is important when the government wants to paint him as a monster that you remember we are talking about a human being. We implore you to keep those emotions in check.”
Additionally, she claimed that a number of Kelly's accusers were "criminals" who had "extorted" Kelly and had immunity agreements.
She further argued that the prosecution of Mr. Kelly by the government is taking place in a "mob-justice climate," as a result of a number of documentaries and social media anger.
Kelly is a GRAMMY-winning singer-songwriter best known musically for the 1996 song 'I Believe I Can Fly'.
Reports of his predatory behaviour against young girls and women as well as charges of sexual assault date back many years.
He continues to be charged with prostitution and solicitation in Minnesota as well as aggravated sexual abuse in Illinois.
AFEM sponsor a confidential support service for anyone affected by sexual harassment within the electronic music industry provided by Health Assured expert counselling. Call 0800 030 5182, (Outside the UK: +44 800 030 5182).
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter