CHICAGO — Disgraced singer R. Kelly was convicted Wednesday on six counts of sexual exploitation and enticement of a minor in a case stemming from the complaints of women who said he lured them into sex acts while they were underage and accusations that he conspired to intimidate and bribe witnesses.
The decision by a federal jury came on the second day of deliberations and came one year after Kelly was convicted in New York on charges of federal racketeering and sex trafficking. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence in that case.
Kelly had faced 13 counts, including charges of sexual exploitation of a minor, receipt of child pornography, enticement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct, conspiring to obstruct justice and conspiring to receive child pornography. He was acquitted on seven counts, including all of the charges related to conspiracy.
Kelly had been accused by prosecutors of engaging in sex acts with five minors and recording some of the abuse on multiple videos.
During the trial, spread across five weeks, jurors heard from several of Kelly’s alleged victims who all testified that they were underage when Kelly began sexually abusing them.
Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was tried alongside two co-defendants, former business manager Derrel McDavid and associate Milton “June” Brown. McDavid and Brown were both found not guilty on all charges.
Both men were accused of conspiring with Kelly to rig the outcome of the singer’s 2008 criminal trial in Cook County, which involved a video recording of Kelly allegedly sexually abusing a minor, according to the federal charges against them.
Prosecutors centered their case around a star witness, identified by the pseudonym Jane in court, who identified herself as the person in a 26-minute videotape sent anonymously to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002 that allegedly showed Kelly performing sex acts with an underage girl. NBC News has not viewed the videotape. Parts of it and several other recordings, purportedly depicting Kelly engaged in sex acts with minors, were played during the trial as the prosecution presented its case.
Kelly was previously tried in Cook County on child pornography charges relating to the same video and was acquitted. Jane refused to testify at that trial.
In emotional testimony, Jane, now 37, said the singer began having sex with her when she was 15 and he was in his 30s and continued to do so “hundreds” of times before she turned 18. She also testified that he exerted an intense psychological grip on her that caused her to isolate herself from her parents and keep the relationship secret to remain “loyal” to him.
She testified that she decided to come forward a few years ago because she “became exhausted with living with his lies.”
Kelly was convicted Wednesday on three of the four charges of sexual exploitation of a minor related to Jane.
Three other alleged victims also testified that Kelly manipulated and sexually abused them for years while they were underage.
Prosecution witnesses also testified that Kelly and his co-defendants paid and intimidated several people in an attempt to retrieve the video recording of his alleged assault of Jane.
Federal prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments that Kelly had committed “horrible crimes against children” and then, with help from his business partners, tried to cover up his actions because he knew they would be “completely damning.”
They also argued that Kelly “took advantage of Jane’s youth” for his own “sick pleasure” and that the jury must look at the case using her as “a base and guide.”
“She was brave enough to come forward after all these years to tell you what happened,” attorney Elizabeth Pozolo told jurors Monday.
Kelly, who has denied any wrongdoing, did not testify during the trial. His attorney Jennifer Bonjean argued that the government’s witnesses were not credible and called many “liars’’ and opportunists. She even likened the testimony of two of the witnesses to “cockroaches” that spoil the “entire soup” during her closing arguments.
She implored jurors Tuesday to put aside their prior knowledge of Kelly when deliberating and focus only on the evidence presented during this trial.
The trial took place in Kelly’s hometown, and several supporters and family members showed up hours before the trial started each day to secure a spot in the courtroom. Throughout the trial, some prayed with Bibles and rosaries, and on the last day of closing arguments some wore white in a show of solidarity with the disgraced singer. Several people prayed together as they waited, asking “an angel to come through the courtroom” to help Kelly.