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R. Kelly trial: Star witness completes testimony, jury sees videos of alleged sex abuse

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R. Kelly jury sees videos of singer's alleged sexual abuse of teen
R. Kelly jury sees videos of singer's alleged sexual abuse of teen 02:23

****WARNING: This report includes disturbing and graphic details of allegations of sexual abuse****

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The jury in R. Kelly's federal trial in Chicago on Friday watched graphic videos that prosecutors say show the singer sexually assaulting his goddaughter when she was as young as 14.

The videos are key evidence in the prosecution's case against Kelly, who is accused of producing child pornography and rigging is 2008 child pornography trial in Cook County. 

Prosecutors played the videos for the jury after that alleged victim, now 37, had wrapped up her testimony as the trial's star witness. Going only by the pseudonym "Jane" during the trial, telling jurors that it's her with Kelly on the videos. She testified Kelly sexually abused her hundreds of times from the time she was 14 until she turned 18. Kelly, now 55, was around 30 years old at the time.

Only the jurors saw the videos, as black screens were placed around the jury to block the media or other spectators in the courtroom from seeing the video screens, or the jurors' reactions to the videos.

The jury was shown were snippets from three different videos, totaling 30 minutes altogether.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to close the courtroom entirely as jurors watched the videos, suggesting any viewing of the videos by the public could violate child pornography laws, but the judge ruled against them, saying the media was entitled to cover the trial.

While spectators in court couldn't see what was on screen, the Associated Press reports sound was audible throughout the courtroom, and in one video a girl's voice was heard repeatedly calling a man "daddy." At one point she asked, "Daddy, do you still love me?" The man was also heard giving her sexually explicit instructions.

Star witness back on the stand for 2nd day at R. Kelly trial 02:43

Before jurors saw those videos, Kelly's defense attorney sought to cast doubt on the testimony from the accuser known only as "Jane," noting their relationship didn't end when she was a teen.

Earlier in the trial we heard about how the sexual abuse, tied to the charges in this case, started when Jane, now 37, just 14 years old. Jane has said Kelly abused her hundreds of times from when she was 14 until she turned 18.

During her cross-examination, Kelly's lead defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, focused on how Jane's relationship with Kelly continued through her adulthood.

Jane is the pivotal witness in this case, with the federal charges against Kelly tied to a relationship with her that she says started when she was 12 or 13, turning sexual by 14, including threesomes with underage girls and adult women.

Jane said many of those sex acts were recorded by Kelly, and three such videos are part of the evidence in this trial and her testimony in particular.

Bonjean questioned Jane repeatedly about her relationship with Kelly, and documented contact between them all the way up to January of 2019.

Jane confirmed she lived with Kelly and his wife in her early 20s, and was involved in a sexual relationship with the couple. She also testified about the financial help she received from Kelly after ending things and moving out at age 26, recalling "intimate times together" after the breakup

Bonjean also questioned Jane about friendly text message exchanges between her and Kelly from 2018 and 2019; including texts Jane sent before and after the docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly" was released in January 2019.

Asked why, after all these years, and a continued relationship into her adulthood, Jane came forward and testified against Kelly now, Jane said, "I no longer wanted to carry his lies."

Until the trial, Jane and her family have publicly denied she was abused, and Jane has testified she lied to a Cook County grand jury before the 2008 child pornography trial where Kelly was acquitted.

Jane and both of her parents were granted immunity in this trial, but her father has since passed away.

When pushed by Kelly's attorneys on the possibility of restitution paid to her, should Kelly be convicted, Jane said restitution didn't weigh into her decision to testify, insisting she has not decided whether to seek restitution from Kelly.

Kelly is on trial on a 13-count indictment, including child pornography and obstruction of justice charges. Two associates, former business manager Derrel McDavid and former assistant Milton Brown, are being tried alongside him. The trial is expected to last four weeks.

 

Jury to see videos prosecutors say show R. Kelly sexually abusing star witness when she was a girl

After the woman, identified only as Jane, who has accused R. Kelly of sexually abusing her hundreds of times, and videotaping many of their encounters, including group sex with other girls, prosecutors prepared to show the jury three of those videos, including one that was at the center of Kelly's 2008 trial on child pornography charges in Cook County.

Kelly was acquitted at that trial, and Jane refused to testify at that trial, but prosecutors have said it's because Kelly intimidated her and her family, and paid them off to keep the abuse secret.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber has ruled the videos should not be viewed by the public, so screens were set up in the courtroom to make sure spectators would not be able to see the jurors' video screens.

A video and audio feed of the proceedings in overflow courtrooms where media and the public were being allowed to view the trial also was cut off when the videos were played in court.

By Todd Feurer
 

Jane says she came forward because she "no longer wanted to carry his lies"

The woman who has accused R. Kelly of sexually abusing her "uncounted" times from when she was 14 to when she turned 18 returned to the witness stand Friday, saying she decided to cooperate with authorities after years of denying she'd been abused, because she "no longer wanted to carry his lies."

The woman, identified in court only by the pseudonym "Jane" spent about four hours testifying for the prosecution on Thursday, telling jurors about how Kelly began sexually abusing her after becoming her godfather when she was 14, and frequently videotaped them together, and with other girls.

Kelly's lead defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, sought to cast doubt on Jane's testimony.

Jane acknowledged not only lying to a Cook County grand jury before Kelly's 2008 trial, when he was acquitted of child pornography charges, claiming it wasn't her on the tape at the center of the trial.

Jane also admitted making false statements to federal prosecutors when she was first questioned by them in 2019, and Bonjean also noted Jane is testifying after being granted immunity by the feds to avoid being prosecuted for those lies.

But Jane said it's not true that she wouldn't be testifying without an immunity deal, and insisted she decided to testify now because she's tired of keeping Kelly's secrets.

After Jane completed her testimony, jurors were expected to view three videos that she and prosecutors have said show Kelly sexually abusing her when she was a child.

By Tara Molina
 

Defense begins cross-examination; focuses on long-term relationship between R. Kelly and "Jane"

R. Kelly's defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, begins cross-examination by focusing on the relationship between "Jane" and the singer into her adulthood following his acquittal in the 2008 child pornography trial.

Bonjean read over messages exchanged between the two dating back to 2019, including messages Kelly didn't reply to.

Following the release of the docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly", "Jane" confirmed that she changed her phone number and sent her new number to Kelly.

By Jeramie Bizzle
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