R. Kelly Asks Judge to Toss Federal Child Pornography Convictions or Grant New Trial

In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

Two months after he was found guilty on federal child pornography charges, R&B singer R. Kelly is asking a judge to either toss out those convictions or grant him a new trial.

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Kelly’s attorneys filed the routine post-conviction motions on Tuesday, arguing prosecutors failed to prove their case and allowed a witness to provide false testimony.

In the motion seeking a new trial, defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean claimed the prosecution's first witness — clinical psychologist Darrell Turner — gave “perjured testimony” about his hourly rate, and prosecutors failed to correct that error.

The motion states that Turner, who testified about grooming and the impact on victims of child sexual abuse, told jurors his rate is $250 per hour, when a contract executed prior to trial shows he was paid $450 per hour for his work. He also stated he worked for two hours on this case, when the contract shows he worked for 6.5 hours.

“As the record reflects, the government did nothing to correct Turner’s testimony or apprise the jury that Dr. Turner had not testified truthfully,” Bonjean wrote in her motion. “In the case at bar, the government’s case … turned on the credibility of the complainants. The government bolstered the credibility of the complainants through ‘expert testimony’ of a witness who knowingly gave false testimony and misled the jury.”

Bonjean argued there’s a “reasonable likelihood" Turner’s testimony affected jurors’ judgment when crediting the testimony of “Nia” and “Pauline” — two of the accusers who said Kelly had sexually abused them when they were underage.

In a separate motion, Bonjean said Kelly’s six convictions should be tossed out because the government failed to prove there was “any commercial purpose related to the ‘production’” of sex tapes that Kelly produced depicting him sexually abusing his 14-year-old goddaughter, referred to at trial under the pseudonym “Jane.”

“While the evidence may have been sufficient to prove violations of criminal sexual abuse under the Illinois criminal code, it did not establish that Defendant: (1) enticed or persuaded Jane to engage in the prohibited conduct; or (2) that he did so with the purpose of producing the contraband images,” Bonjean wrote. “The production of the images was ancillary to the sexual explicit conduct, it was not the purpose of the conduct.”

Bonjean also argued Kelly “took no acts” to persuade “Jane,” “Pauline” or “Nia” into any sexual activity.

A 12-person jury convicted Kelly in September on multiple child pornography-related charges, finding he sexually abused “Jane” and other minors in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But Kelly and his co-defendants, Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, were acquitted on charges they covered up that abuse.

Kelly, 55, is scheduled to be sentenced next February and faces anywhere from 10 to 90 years in prison. He was previously sentenced to 30 years in prison following his convictions on racketeering and sex trafficking charges in New York.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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