R. Kelly crisis manager: I would not leave my daughter with an accused pedophile

R. Kelly crisis manager on singer's condition

Last Updated Jul 22, 2019 9:43 PM EDT

Editor's Note: Late Monday, Darrel Johnson told CBS News he is stepping down as R. Kelly's crisis manager. Read the latest update here. Today's earlier story is below.


R&B singer R. Kelly will appear in federal court in Brooklyn court next month to face new sex crime charges. Federal prosecutors in Illinois and New York charged the musician with a combined 18 counts, including child pornography.

Kelly, who is accused of sexually exploiting women and girls over more than two decades, is being held in a Chicago jail without bond. He faces 195 years in prison on the Chicago charges alone. He has repeatedly denied all allegations.

Kelly's crisis manager told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King on Monday that he would never leave his own daughter alone with an accused pedophile.

"You have a 20-something-year-old daughter. Would you allow her to be alone with —"

"Absolutely not," Johnson interrupted. 

"R. Kelly?" King finished. 

"I would not leave my daughter with anyone who's accused of pedophilia," he said. 

Pressed on whether he wouldn't leave his daughter alone with Kelly specifically, Johnson repeated: "I would not leave my daughter with anyone that's accused of being a pedophile. I would not."

When King pointed out the seeming contradiction of defending Kelly, an accused pedophile, and simultaneously saying he wouldn't trust his own daughter alone with anyone accused of that crime, Johnson repeated, "I wouldn't leave my daughter with anyone — I'm going to say it again — that's accused of being a pedophile." 

Kelly has faced mounting legal troubles this year after Lifetime aired a documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," which revisited allegations of sexual abuse by a number of girls over the years. That series followed a 2018 BBC documentary that alleged the singer was holding women against their will and running a "sex cult." Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary live with Kelly in his Chicago apartment and insist, despite their family's claims that they've been brainwashed, that they are free to come and go as they please. 

"I know you and all his team says he's innocent," King said. "You have so many women who have come forward and telling the same story for a long period of years. Are all the women not telling the truth?"

"Here's what I say: I never call anybody a liar," Johnson replied. "I came on seven months ago. I walked into a front door, and I seen Mr. Kelly being a normal person .... Mr. Kelly was recording. Twenty minutes later, [the two women] walked in with shopping bags, no security, free [to go], doing what they wanted to do, and I spent a lot of time with Mr. Kelly. And I still say my eye is trained. I haven't seen anything that would cause me to be suspicious."

King asked, "I came in and saw Mr. Kelly being a normal person, too, sitting at his kitchen counter, drinking tea. All of that. I saw that too. We are not going to see that type of behavior. The question is, all of these women through decades now have been telling the same story. ... What do you say to all of these women?"

"They've indicted Mr. Kelly. He's in jail right now. He will have his day in court," Johnson said. "And they'll have to bring the evidence. And that's what has to be done. If the evidence stick, Mr. Kelly will spend the rest of his life in the penitentiary."

Co-host Tony Dokoupil asked, "Because he can't perform, how is he paying for his legal defense? Are other celebrities, other musicians providing him money?"

"Mr. Kelly does have royalties that come in so he's living off some of his royalties," Johnson said. "Early on, fans and friends gave a lot of donations."

Johnson also addressed Kelly's mental state. "[He's] a mess right now. He's afraid, he's scared, he's isolated."

Asked is he is on suicide watch, Johnson replied, "I would assume that he is ... Nobody wants to be locked down 24 hours, no TV. He can't read and write, so he can't read a book. It's almost as if he's already been — a jury has convicted him."

Johnson said he's "absolutely" concerned about Kelly harming himself in prison. "When you're in the state of mind Mr. Kelly is in right now, any person, including myself and you, would probably want the authorities be cautious of what has taken place."

The Gayle King Interview with R. Kelly
  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.