Chicago, Illinois – R. Kelly’s alleged underage victim of sexual assault, known by the pseudonym Jane and central to his federal child pornography trial in Chicago, was heard apologizing multiple times to her alleged abuser in more than one videotape submitted in evidence by the prosecutor on Friday. The graphic videotapes were shown to jurors Friday at Dirksen’s US courthouse, where the tape — containing clips from three different videos — was not seen by the public or the media. Instead, audio was heard in the courthouse.
Kelly faces multiple charges for coercing five minors into sexual acts, and several charges related to producing child pornography. He and co-defendants Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown are also charged with receiving child pornography as part of an alleged attempt to recover missing tapes on which Kelly allegedly engaged in sexual acts with minors. In addition, Kelly and McDavid are facing obstruction of justice charges related to allegations that they paid people aware of Kelly’s alleged abuse, and sought to obstruct the 2008 investigation of Kelly’s child pornography. All three men plead innocent.
On Thursday, Kelly’s goddaughter Jane identified herself as the person on the tapes shown Friday, saying she was 14 years old when they were filmed. On Friday, Jane’s youthful-sounding voice could be heard on the tapes, referring to her “14-year-old” body, including her breasts and other genitals, at various times, while some 17 clips from three separate videotapes were presented in court. In some clips Kelly could be heard confirming her age.
In one clip, Jane is instructed by what appears to be Kelly to turn around and “get on her knees.” “Daddy, do you still love me?” she should ask. In another clip, she’s told to “don’t move” and that “I’m going to hit you really hard on your ass.” Elsewhere, she is heard several times saying “I’m sorry” to her alleged sexual abuser as the tapes played in court.
A handful of the clips played on Friday were the focus of Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial, in which the singer was acquitted (Jane did not testify in the 2008 trial, a major factor in his acquittal, jurors in that trial would later say. ) While the clips were playing, Kelly often consulted with his counsel and looked at the table where he sat.
It was a chaotic build-up to the tapes’ play on Friday, with Kelly supporters queuing hours earlier to attend court as the trial progressed, as well as prosecutors reiterating their request for US District Judge Harry Leinenweber to leave the courtroom. of the public to be released. and media on the grounds that the tapes are child pornography. Leinenweber disagreed and instead darkened the video screens showing the videotapes to the public and media in the gallery while jurors and the legal teams were allowed to watch.
Earlier in the day, a cross-examination of Jane, who testified Thursday, began with Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean, who illustrated through a series of texts allegedly sent from Jane to Kelly that the two had allegedly kept in touch until April 2019. Bonjean also pointed out that her client did not always respond to Jane’s text messages. In February 2019, shortly after the documentary Survivor R. Kelly broadcast, Jane is said to have texted Kelly, “You have to call me right away or I’ll just make decisions.” Bonjean asked if this was a means for Jane to receive payment to remain silent, which Jane denied. “The decision I would make was to cooperate with the authorities because I no longer wanted to spread his lies,” she said.
Bonjean also put forward restitution, which Jane is apparently entitled to if Kelly is convicted, but Jane said she hadn’t decided whether she would pursue that. Later, Bonjean suggested that Jane’s counsel had negotiated an immunity deal, covering her for “everything”. Jane stated that calmly anyway, “I’m telling my truth.”
Another set of texts Bonjean put forth were those between Jane and then-Assistant US Attorney Angel Krull, suggesting that they were in an overly amicable relationship. At the diversion, prosecutors tried to determine that the text exchanges were about pre-trial planning.
Bonjean also questioned Jane about the original band, which reporter Jim DeRogatis then joined the… Chicago Sun Times received, ultimately leading to the 2008 trial. Bonjean asked if Jane’s Aunt Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards had provided the tape. “As far as I understand, yes,” Jane said. Jane later agreed with Bonjean’s claim that Edwards initially seemed to cherish the relationship between Kelly and Jane when she suggested Jane ask Kelly to be her godfather when she was 12 or 13. “She knew what she was encouraging me to do,” Jane said.
However, Edwards has maintained that she has tried to protect her niece, as she claimed in DeRogatis’ book. Soulless: the case against R. Kelly.
On Thursday, Jane testified that she was the girl who was sexually assaulted in the video central to Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial (he was acquitted of all charges), among other clips. Wednesday, after opening statements, retired Chicago detective Daniel Everett testified to that claim, saying he recognized Jane on the infamous tape — which he received from DeRogatis in February 2002 — of an initial investigation into allegations of abuse against Kelly two years earlier. In 2000, Jane had denied having been abused by Kelly, and her parents supported that claim. Prosecutors have alleged that Kelly and his associates paid Jane and her family to hide the videotapes.
The four videos central to the retrial — some of which were played in front of jurors on Friday — were filmed when Jane was 14 years old, according to testimony. She said the sexual acts took place at Kelly’s then home, his recording studios, on tour buses and in hotels.
On Friday, one of Brown’s attorneys also cross-examined Jane, as if trying to determine that their client was unaware of Kelly’s alleged cover-ups of his relationships and that he was simply doing what he was told as an employee.
Friday’s testimony also included testimony from Bettye Allwang, director of Exploited Children at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who testified that the video footage involved in the case was part of a distribution report filed with the agency, and John of Customs and Border Protection. Cichy, who discussed travel manifestos involving Jane, her parents, and Brown.