R. Kelly’s Last Criminal Trial Was in 2008.The World Has Changed Since.

We are about to learn the truth about whether R. Kelly is the black version of Jeffrey Epstein. Times have changed since his acquittal of child pornography charges in 2008 and the weight of the evidence greater. We’ll have to wait for the verdict to make the point that what goes around does come around for all of us, all the time!

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/17/nyregion/r-kelly-trial-allegations.html?smid=em-share

 

R. Kelly’s Last Criminal Trial Was in 2008. The World Has Changed Since.

The R&B artist was acquitted 13 years ago. But the culture around allegations of sexual misconduct has shifted dramatically since then, and he faces more formidable charges this time.

The singer R. Kelly is set to stand trial in New York, while also facing criminal charges in Chicago and Minneapolis.
Credit…Nuccio Dinuzzo/Getty Images

Twenty five years ago, a woman in Chicago sued the singer R. Kelly.

Tiffany Hawkins said she and Mr. Kelly began having sex in 1991, when he was 24 and she was an underage high school student. The lawsuit was settled for $250,000, and the murmurs about sexual misconduct have followed Mr. Kelly ever since, spilling over into public view across two decades of civil suits, accusations and a disturbing Lifetime documentary.

But the only time Robert Sylvester Kelly faced criminal charges, in 2008, he was acquitted. Now, years removed from that first trial, Mr. Kelly faces far more formidable charges.

At his highly anticipated trial, which is scheduled to begin on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, prosecutors will portray Mr. Kelly as the criminal ringleader of a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls to have sex with him, often while controlling the minutiae of their lives.

Mr. Kelly, 54, has steadfastly denied all of the sexual misconduct and physical abuse accusations against him. He faces one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. If convicted, Mr. Kelly faces decades in prison.

The case against him centers on six unnamed women, including two who appeared in the documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” and two who the government says have never spoken publicly about their allegations. Three were underage.

The result of his last criminal case will be in mind for many observers, including his accusers and their families and his base of fans who maintain unflinching support. That 2008 trial, on child pornography charges, was also highly publicized, but he was ultimately acquitted on all 14 counts after the girl at the center of the case declined to testify.

“The fact that R. Kelly got acquitted of not identical crimes, but certainly similar ones, in Chicago maybe gives him a little confidence level,” said Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor. “However, it’s a different game once you bring racketeering into the equation.”

The charges have changed since that first trial, but so has the world around Mr. Kelly: The culture around allegations of sexual misconduct has shifted dramatically, particularly after the rise of the #MeToo movement.

The case against the singer also appears to be better fortified this time: At least three of the six women referenced in the indictment are expected to testify at the trial.

Even if acquitted on all counts, Mr. Kelly’s legal peril will endure. He awaits a federal trial in Chicago on child pornography and obstruction charges that come with the threat of a lengthy prison term, and he faces additional state sex crime charges in Illinois and Minneapolis.

The original indictment in New York against Mr. Kelly, who appeared in court with his head shaved this week, was filed in the summer of 2019, but the pandemic delayed his trial date.

The trial is expected to last about four weeks and over that time, the 12-person jury — seven men and five women — will hear evidence accusing Mr. Kelly of physically abusing and psychologically manipulating victims; making threats and hush money payments to keep some quiet; and often dictating when they could eat and use the bathroom, while forbidding them from looking at other men and forcing them to call him “Daddy.”

The racketeering charge allows prosecutors to introduce acts from any relevant time period. Those acts include one of the first major revelations to bring public scrutiny to Mr. Kelly’s actions: his brief marriage to the singer Aaliyah in 1994.

Prosecutors will argue that Mr. Kelly believed Aaliyah, who was 15, had become pregnant by him, and that he arranged to marry her so that she would not be forced to testify against him. They will present evidence that Mr. Kelly and his associates bribed an Illinois government employee to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton and who died in a 2001 plane crash at age 22.

It was used to obtain a marriage license listing Aaliyah’s age as 18, the government says. She will be identified at trial as Jane Doe 1.

Mr. Kelly’s marriage to the singer Aaliyah when she was 15 is expected to be part of the evidence brought forth at his trial.
Credit…Chris Delmas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The accounts of witnesses, already outlined in court documents, are expected to be graphic and startling. One is set to testify that in 2003, she became dizzy after one of Mr. Kelly’s associates offered her food and a drink, and awoke with Mr. Kelly in the room and her underwear removed. Prosecutors say that it was apparent she had been sexually assaulted while she was unconscious.

Another plans to describe a 2009 sexual relationship with Mr. Kelly, when she was 16, during which she was beaten, choked and isolated without food if she did not perform sexual acts when he wanted, court filings say. And the government anticipates several will testify that they contracted herpes after having sex with Mr. Kelly as lawyers accuse him of knowingly spreading the disease.

The jury, whose members will be anonymous and semi-sequestered, was selected last week. But opening statements were delayed to give additional preparation time to two lawyers who joined Mr. Kelly’s team this summer, after the departures of two other longtime members.

To establish the racketeering charge, the government plans to introduce evidence of more than a dozen criminal accusations that Mr. Kelly has never been charged with. U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who is presiding over the trial, has not yet decided how much will be allowed.

Mr. Kelly’s defense team has challenged much of the move. One of his lawyers, Thomas A. Farinella, has called it “nothing more than a veiled effort to pile on to further shape the public’s perception in this case ignoring that Mr. Kelly is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”

Still, the strategy is not uncommon — in racketeering cases or otherwise — and has been used in several prominent sex crime cases in recent years.

When Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two felony sex crimes last year, the verdict came after the lengthy testimonies of three women who also testified about uncharged sexual assaults. Mr. Weinstein, once a powerful Hollywood producer, has since appealed his conviction on the grounds that the women should not have been permitted to testify.

But legal experts said that Mr. Kelly’s racketeering charge — and the type of evidence against him — makes the situation distinct.

The uncharged acts could involve up to 14 additional people who say that they, too, were mistreated by Mr. Kelly.

Six accuse him of sexual abuse when they were minors, including a man who the government says is expected to testify that Mr. Kelly offered to mentor him in his musical aspirations but pressured him to have sex when he was 17.

Court filings have offered a window into possible components of Mr. Kelly’s defense.

The credibility and motives of witnesses will often come under fire, as the defense contends that they were not coerced or abused. Rather, Mr. Kelly’s team will argue, many were fans of Mr. Kelly — referred to as “disgruntled groupies” in at least one court filing — who had consensual sex with him but later changed and “embellished” their stories out of regret or financial motivations.

Mr. Kelly’s conduct will be the public focus of the trial. But the actions of those in his orbit — managers, bodyguards, drivers and members of his entourage, among others — will be key to the case for both sides.

His defense team will argue that the racketeering charge does not hold; that the government’s portrait of a vast criminal enterprise only loosely exists beyond a single individual.

G. Robert Blakey, a former professor at Notre Dame Law School who played a major role in creating the underlying statute when it was established decades ago, said it is not necessary for the government to prove a complex syndicate existed.

A less structured arrangement over the span of several years — he offered neighborhood pickup basketball games as an example, where residents know the regulars, their positions and the activities endure even as players change — is enough, Mr. Blakey said. He said he would have made the argument of a criminal enterprise “a little more concrete” but did not see major holes.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Kelly has been named and what he’s done individually with these girls is outrageous if it’s true,” he said. “But the jury has to decide looking at the statute.”

 

R. Kelly’s Last Criminal Trial Was in 2008. The World Has Changed Since.

R. Kelly’s Last Criminal Trial Was in 2008. The World Has Changed Since.


Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

R. Kelly’s Last Criminal Trial

R. Kelly’s Last Criminal Trial

Is it true that “What Goes Around Comes Around”? We may be getting close to another prime example of how that particular law of nature and physics plays out in the life of all humans, even those who have seemed impervious to its reach.

Now that the lengthy inquiry into accusations of sexual harassment and other improprieties related to the Governor’s handling of Covid, nursing-home data and state resources he may have illegally used to publish his book so quickly has advanced significantly, we’ll soon know the results of what at least appears to be a thorough and exhaustive investigation. There is always the risk of jumping the gun and assuming the worst, which we want to avoid in fairness to all parties, including the Governor.

From the current perch we all share of only having publicly available sources of info, it appears that Mr. Cuomo’s bluster and denials and the support he still has from political allies may see him through what appears to be the most significant threat he’s faced to his political career and legacy. If not, we’ll soon see another Governor’s career go down in ignoble flames due to their disbelief that those words applied to them, in spite of their use of them on many occasions to describe the plight of other people.

Drake Bell Given Two Years of Probation

Drake must have felt a sense of empowerment, the big star over the impressionable fan. It’s been called intoxicating and at the right time and place, with the right profile of a fan it might indeed have been just a “good time!”

But when that person turned out to be a minor it was a whole other ballgame and now Drake is someone who has been charged with the felony of attempted child endangerment. It lead to a plea deal including financial penalties, probation with various conditions for a minimum of two years and registration as a sex offender!

Have to ask though as we always should, is it possible its not so black and white? Were there mitigating circumstances? Had Drake himself been a victim of child abuse? Was this a one-off mistake or just one of a series? Does it indicate a much deeper problem and need for help, but with the proviso to also keep him away from other potential victims?

A deeper analysis might answer those questions and let us have a dose of sympathy. But in the end, sympathy or not, he made the choices! He lured her in! He pounced!

There’s at least one thing we can be pretty sure he didn’t have, which is the insight that whether there seems to be someone watching or not, that there IS something taking note.That something is the universal Law of Cause & Effect which explains every action/reaction in the physical universe and nature, but also applies to all human thoughts, words and actions and their consequences.

In our time and culture, the common vernacular for this principle in action is the expression “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Most of us use those words, perhaps many times, but only when describing someone else’s misfortune. We didn’t understand at first, but when the facts came out we could see why it happened!

However another truth is that, what is so easy to see in others can be so hard to see in ourselves. Unfortunately for Drake, he didn’t either! If he’d only read the book I wrote with that title he might not be in this fix!

The former star of the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh” had pleaded guilty to two charges related to a girl he met online. She attended one of his concerts in 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/12/arts/television/drake-bell-sentenced-child-endangerment.html?smid=em-share