Leon Walsh, who is representing a survivor of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse, gives an overview of the government’s case against R. Kelly.
The R. Kelly trial is underway. A jury was selected this week and opening statements are set to begin on July 18th in New York. Grewal Law is honored to represent a survivor of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse, Jane Doe, who will be providing bad act testimony at the trial. Kelly faces racketeering charges, and it is alleged that he engaged in criminal acts such as forced labor, kidnapping and sexual exploitation of children.
Federal authorities claim that Kelly used his position as a singer/performer to lure victims into his circle, whereby he then created “an organized system of abuse.” Kelly, his employees and his entourage “preyed upon women and girls who attended his concerts so the victims could be available to engage in illegal sexual activity with him at a moment’s notice,” according to U.S. attorney Richard P. Donahue.
Federal authorities claim that Kelly engaged in racketeering from 1994 until 2019. In court filings, it is claimed that the Kelly’s accusers, many of whom had been invited to stay at his home, could not leave their bedrooms unless they had permission – even to eat or use the restroom. Further, Kelly’s accusers claim they had to wear baggy clothing when they were not with Kelly, were instructed to call Kelly “Daddy,” and had to keep their heads down and avoid looking at other men.
“Jane Doe 1,” allegedly married Kelly when she was 15 years old, after Kelly impregnated her. Kelly reportedly bribed an Illinois official into providing Jane Doe 1 with a fake ID so Kelly could marry her. This is the first act (bribery) cited under the racketeering charges.
With respect to Jane Doe #2, Kelly is accused of “sexual exploitation of a child.” This falls under the racketeering charges and it involves the filming of sexually explicit conduct from May through October of 1999.
It is alleged that Kelly kidnapped Jane Doe # 3 around 2003 / 2004 by “knowingly and intentionally secretly confin[ing] by deceit and enticement to go from one place to another with intent secretly to confine her against her will.” Kelly and his entourage and employees allegedly kept Jane Doe # 3 in a locked room with no food for three days. She became tired and dizzy, and once she became unconscious, Kelly sexually assaulted her.
At the trial, prosecutors will be allowed to admit evidence of bad acts or uncharged sexual abuse of minors, unlawful imprisonment, hush payments, use of physical and psychological harm to obtain sexual and other services, threatening conduct, physical abuse, and bribery.
It is alleged that Jane Doe # 7, who was 15 at the time, was invited by a female acquaintance of Kelly’s (who was also a minor) to go to Kelly’s apartment with her. At the apartment, Kelly engaged in sexual intercourse with Jane Doe #7, and then he gave her a job as a back-up dancer. Jane Doe # 7 witnessed Kelly engaging in sexual intercourse with other minors at Kelly’s apartment.
Jane Doe # 8 attended one of Kelly’s concerts in 1994. Towards end of concert, some people who looked like bouncers asked Jane Doe # 8 and her friend if they would like to meet Kelly. They were guided to the dressing room, which was filled with reporters, bodyguards and members of Kelly’s entourage. Jane Doe # 8 walked up to Kelly and he signed her program. He asked her how old she was and she told him she was 17. Kelly said something to a member of his entourage and the entourage member told everybody to leave the room. At this time, Kelly told Jane Doe # 8 and her friend to stay. Kelly played a new song for the friends and then started kissing them. Kelly then started focusing on Jane Doe # 8, and he became aggressive, pulling Jane Doe # 8 into a make-up room. He pushed her up against a counter, forcefully pulled down her pants and sexually assaulted her. While doing this, he grabbed Jane Doe # 8’s friend’s hand, and she pulled away. Jane Doe # 8 was in shock, as was her friend. They immediately left the room. Everything had happened fast and forcefully. Jane Doe # 8 felt shocked, ashamed and humiliated.
In addition to being accused of sexually abusing girls, Kelly is also accused of abusing underage boys, and this includes inviting John Doe # 1 to his studio under the guise of helping him with his musical aspirations. In the studio, Kelly engaged in sexual contact with John Doe #1, in violation of Illinois law.
Kelly also allegedly violated the Mann Act, which prohibits moving people around state lines for illegal sexual activity. The accuser named “Jane Doe 5” was reportedly underage when she was transported by Kelly and his employees across state lines for sexual activity. Federal prosecutors claim that Kelly “together with others, did knowingly and intentionally persuade, induce, entice and coerce” her to engage in illegal acts.
Another accuser, “Jane Doe 6,” was allegedly transported across state lines, and federal prosecutors claim that Kelly engaged in unprotected intercourse with her without first informing her that he was infected with herpes, according to prosecutors. Jane Doe # 6 became infected with the virus after having contact with Kelly.
KELLY’S SYSTEM OF ABUSE WAS AIDED BY INSTITUTIONS AND PEOPLE WHO PROFITED FROM HIM
The music industry ignored sexual abuse and related allegations against Kelly for a long time, even when Kelly was indicted on numerous counts of child pornography in 2002. Kelly was acquitted of all charges when the case finally went to trial in 2008. In the current trial, prosecutors plan to show that Kelly and a member of the Enterprise tampered with that 2008 jury. This will be part of the uncharged crimes that Kelly engaged in.
Indeed, people and companies who were profiting from Kelly ignored, covered up, and often facilitated Kelly’s alleged illegal acts, including his sexual abuse of minors. “By promoting R. Kelly’s music and the R. Kelly brand, the members of the Enterprise expected to receive financial opportunities and personal benefits, including increased power and status within the Enterprise,” prosecutors wrote in the indictment. (Prosecutors use the term “the Enterprise” to collectively describe Kelly’s employees and entourage members.)
Power often gives abusers opportunity to act as predators because power can be leveraged to silence victims, dismiss allegations and punish accusers. Kelly used his fame and power to coerce boys and girls into entering his orbit, promising them things from a simple autograph to careers in the music industry. Once in his circle, Kelly used force, intimidation, threats of exposing illicit photographs or harming victims’ families, and other means to keep his victims under his power so he could abuse them. Kelly’s entourage and employees facilitated this, and Kelly also used this Enterprise to pay money to silence victims and bribe officials.
THE AWARD-WINNING SEXUAL ASSAULT ATTORNEYS AT GREWAL LAW ARE HERE TO HELP
Grewal Law is honored to represent survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Grewal Law represented a third of the first wave of plaintiffs in the MSU and Larry Nassar lawsuits, and the Grewal team was instrumental in obtaining the half a billion-dollar settlement from MSU. Currently, the award-winning lawyers at Grewal Law are fighting to hold USAG and USOC accountable for their roles in allowing sexual abuse of their participants to occur. In addition, Grewal Law attorneys are part of a nation-wide team of lawyers working to hold University of Michigan accountable for allowing Robert Anderson to sexually abuse over 800 students and other young people for decades. Grewal Law has also put University of Michigan on notice that it is going to be sued for its role in professor-student sexual abuse. The attorneys at Grewal Law advocate for transparency, accountability, and justice for survivors, and are available 24/7 to answer your questions, give you resources, or help you with a potential case.
A Graduate from the Florida State University College of Law, Leon Walsh, Jr. spent several years in Florida as an assistant public defender as well as working for a civil litigation firm where he gained valuable first-chair jury trial experience in both state and federal courts. Mr. Walsh now works for Church Wyble, PC in Northville, Michigan where he focuses on medical malpractice and complex personal injury claims.