R. Kelly used money, threats to keep victims quiet, Feds allege in opening statement

R. Kelly in a gray suit talks to a man next to him
Singer R. Kelly arrives at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on June 06, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — In opening statements of R. Kelly’s federal trial on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges, prosecutors claimed the singer used money and threats to keep his victims quiet.

In early 2002, after prosecutors said R. Kelly learned a videotape of him having sex with a minor had been leaked, the singer allegedly met with the girl’s parents.

He told them they were either with him or against him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Julien said Kelly told them to avoid talking to police or the media and sent them out of the country for a month.

The girl’s father went on to play guitar for Kelly after losing other jobs.

Julien said Kelly repeatedly had sex with girls as young as 14, including Jane. That’s the pseudonym for the victim who did not testify at Kelly’s 2008 trial where he was acquitted

Five victims are expected to testify during the trial — all using pseudonyms. Jane, who’s now 37, will testify, as well as Tracy, Nia, Brittany, and Pinky.

Kelly, dressed in a dark suit, nodded during his attorney’s opening statements.

Jennifer Bonjean told jurors the government has depicted her client as a monster. Bonjean said on Kelly’s rise to stardom he stumbled on the way, but the only question for them is if he committed these charges.

Listen to WBBM Newsradio now on Audacy!

Sign up and follow WBBM Newsradio

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram