CHICAGO – A jury acquitted R. Kelly on all counts of child pornography after less than a day of deliberations Friday, ending an ordeal for the R&B superstar that began when he was charged six years ago
The Grammy award-winning singer dabbed his face with a handkerchief and hugged each of his four attorneys after the verdict was read. The singer had faced 15 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors had argued that a graphic sex tape showed Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13 at the time. Both Kelly, 41, and the now 23-year-old alleged victim had denied they were on the tape. Neither testified during the trial.
The prosecution’s star witness was a woman who said she engaged in three-way sex with Kelly and the alleged victim. Defense attorneys argued the man on the tape didn’t have a large mole on his back; Kelly has such a mole.
The monthlong trial centered on whether Kelly was the man who appears on a sexually graphic, 27-minute videotape at the heart of the case, and whether a female who also appears on it was underage.
Over seven days presenting their case, prosecutors called 22 witnesses, including several childhood friends of the alleged victim and four of her relatives who identified her as the female on the video.
In just two days, Kelly’s lawyers called 12 witnesses. They included three relatives of the alleged victim who testified they did not recognize her as the female on the tape.
Kelly’s hits include “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Bump N’ Grind” and “Ignition.”