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R Kelly business manager says new allegations against the star shouldn’t delay his trial

By | Published on Tuesday 18 February 2020

R Kelly

The long-term business manager of R Kelly – who is also caught up in the criminal case against the musician – has requested that he goes on trial in April as originally planned. This follows a new legal filing by prosecutors in Chicago last week that added a new victim to the set of allegations against Kelly, which is likely to delay the criminal proceedings.

Kelly, of course, faces criminal charges for sexual assault and abuse – including against minors – in multiple American states. Those charges have built up ever since the airing of the ‘Surviving R Kelly’ documentary last year, which put the spotlight on the abuse allegations that have surrounded the musician for years.

In last week’s court filing, federal prosecutors added new allegations against Kelly relating to a new alleged victim. Although only a few details were provided about that person, the court filing said that she met Kelly in 1997 or 1998 when aged fourteen or fifteen.

Prosecutors allege that Kelly then “engaged in sexual contact and sexual acts” with her when she was under the age of eighteen. Similar claims are made in relation to four other girls, although Friday’s filing amended the allegations in relation to a sixth victim, so that the claim she was abused when she was a minor was removed.

As to why that latter change had been made, a former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Cramer, told the Chicago Sun-Times that it could be a sign that “prosecutors felt uncomfortable presenting that person to a jury as a victim but still have corroborating evidence to put that person on the stand as a witness”.

He added: “The presentation of the evidence seems to have been tweaked a little bit, but the overall construction of the case remains the same”.

Though one of the lawyers working for Kelly – Mike Leonard – suggested that the changes demonstrated weaknesses in the case being constructed by the authorities. The prosecution, he said, “appears to continue to struggle with its underlying factual theory”.

He is quoted by the Sun-Times as adding: “They have amended away a victim, changed the time period for counts, and changed the allegedly responsible entities in terms of forfeiture allegations. Moreover, to date, they have failed to even identify to us the [new] victim identified in [the] amended indictment – with a promise they will do so in the future”.

Kelly’s business manager Derrel McDavid also faces charges in relation to the criminal investigation. That includes obstruction of justice charges based on allegations McDavid played a key role in paying off victims and witnesses the last time Kelly was prosecuted over allegations of sexual abuse against a minor back in 2008.

Last week’s new filing from the prosecution is likely to push back court proceedings, but yesterday lawyers representing McDavid demanded that their client’s trial go ahead as originally planned, kicking off on 27 Apr.

Formally objecting to any delays, the lawyers wrote: “It is Mr McDavid’s request to be tried on the April 27, 2020”. The next hearing in relation to the case is currently set for 5 Mar.