by Jamal Wright, Esq.
The talented R&B singer, who has been charged with multiple counts of possession of child pornography, is in the final days of the trial of his life in Chicago. Having beaten his first child pornography case in Florida in 2004 on a technicality, he is up against much tougher odds in this case. Namely, he’s up against strong evidence in the form of a certain infamous videotape.
During the Florida case about explicit photos, his attorneys argued successfully that the main evidence against him should be suppressed due to a faulty process of search and seizure. Prosecutors were defeated, citing the difficulties of connecting evidence to Kelly that the jury can’t even know exists. This time Kelly is facing more motivated prosecutors and up to 15 years in the slammer.
At the beginning of this trial in Chicago, the linchpin evidence didn’t get suppressed. The jury was forced to sit through the entire video. Not good. The defense was forced to resort to ridiculous assertions like the notion that the tape had been doctored or that it was someone else besides the world-famous Kelly, on the tape. Imagine that. One of the biggest stars in the world forced to deny his own image in a video that everybody knows is him. It’s like an episode of the Twilight Zone.
But all the Kelly-funded children’s charities in the world won’t help me muster up an ounce of sympathy for him. Mostly because I think he’s guilty. But also because I believe he’s either stupid or crazy.
Crazy is more forgivable. He may be a sick man. Evidence certainly would support it. You don’t to have to Google his name to know what his reputation is. In an affidavit filed in a 2005 civil case, Jay-Z alleged that Kelly would treat tour audiences to videos of himself with young girls simulating sex acts. He makes videotapes of himself with underage females and allows the tapes out of his sight. Classic crazy. That reeks of someone who doesn’t know right from wrong, even after he was charged earlier for the same type of stuff in Florida. He certainly can’t control his fix.
If he’s sick, then he needs help and this situation is probably the best way for him to get it.
If he’s stupid, it’s unforgivable. It’s unforgivable because he’s blessed with the money to have the best management around him. The type of management that would advise him not to film himself committing felonies with a minor in a such a way that makes a prosecutor smile. A bunch of fellas that would tell him of all he had to lose.
It’s not over for Kelly. The case is scheduled to go to the jury very soon. Every case comes down to the jury’s view. They could view him as an honest business man getting hassled or as a charitable superstar. They could let him go. They could give him the opportunity to help himself on his own.
What can we learn from this?
Here’s the advice Kelly could’ve paid for, but you get for free.
Stay away from committing criminal acts, obviously. But if you absolutely must go criminal, never take pictures of yourself committing a crime. I cringe when I see young males in the inner-city taking pictures holding joints or drinking under age. Detectives and prosecutors have another name for these pictures. Evidence.
I would expand this rule outside of law and say never take a picture doing something you would have trouble explaining to your 11 year-old grand kid when you’re 72. Once a picture hits the internet, it’s out of your hands forever the control over who sees it and under what context it is seen.
In essence, Myspace, is not really yours.
And it isn’t R Kelly’s either. He should’ve known that. But maybe he’s just crazy.
by Jamal Wright, Attorney at Law