R. Kelly Lawyer Likens Evidence to ‘Cockroaches’

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(Newser)

Jurors began deliberating Tuesday at R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago, sorting through a month of evidence and arguments to decide verdicts on charges accusing the singer of producing child pornography, enticing minors for sex, and successfully rigging his 2008 child porn trial. A day after prosecutors delivered their closing argument, Kelly’s lead attorney made hers. Standing at a podium a few feet in front of jurors, Jennifer Bonjean said key government witnesses were admitted liars who testified with immunity to ensure they couldn’t be charged, the AP reports. At times sounding indignant and raising her voice, Bonjean likened their testimony and other evidence to a cockroach and the government’s case to a bowl of soup the insect is found in.

“You don’t just pull out the cockroach and eat the rest of the soup, You throw out the whole soup,” said told jurors. She said of the prosecution’s case: “There are just too many cockroaches.” As Bonjean spoke, Kelly, wearing a gray suit and black face mask, looked calm at a nearby defense table. He appeared to shake his head slightly a few times when a prosecutor spoke. Kelly, 55, was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison after a separate federal trial in New York where he was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking. Convictions on just a few of the 13 counts Kelly faces at his current trial could add years to his imprisonment.

Bonjean implored jurors not to withdraw to the jury room with an impression of Kelly informed by media coverage of him in recent years or by prosecutors at the trial. “They throw around labels like sex predator,” she said about prosecutors. “Labels and sweeping generalizations are distractions meant for you to lose your humanity for this man.” Delivering the government’s rebuttal after Bonjean’s closing, prosecutor Jeannice Appenteng told jurors to remember the girls and women Kelly allegedly abused. “When you are in the quiet of the jury room, consider the evidence in light of who is at the center of this case. Kelly’s victims: Jane, Nia, Pauline, Tracy, and Brittany,” Appenteng said, referring to five Kelly accusers named in charging documents by their pseudonyms or first names. (A juror had a panic attack during closing arguments Monday.)

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