R. Kelly pleads “not guilty”; faces new charges

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The recent legal activities of Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as r&b singer R. Kelly have reached a dizzying fever pitch. At least it has for people who appreciate courtroom drama, especially that which involves celebrities. The Chicago Tribune and other news outlets have reported that today, Kelly plead “not guilty” to all charges against him. The plea apparently includes charges stemming from the allegations of an accuser known only in documents as “Minor 6.”

Unfortunately for Kelly, the plea is not enough to get him a speedy trial. Originally, he was slated to stand trial April 27, 2020. Now that has been pushed back. In a separate maneuver, federal agents raided a storage facility that holds all of Kelly’s electronic equipment. Prosecutors, the Chicago Tribune reports, want to see what is contained on the devices, which number roughly 100. They include iPhones, tablets and other electronics.

An attorney for Kelly maintains that the prosecution will not find anything, that the equipment is like “the iPad the sound guy uses…they aren’t going to find anything.”

The problem with that claim is that Kelly and his co-defendants, are also charged with paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to “recover child sex tapes before they fell into the hands of prosecutors.”

Kelly’s co-defendants are Derrell McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, two of his former employees. Charges against them allege that McDavid and Brown attempted to bribe jury members in Kelly’s 2008 trial.

Meanwhile, Kelly is supposed to stand trial in July. Most recently, another young woman who was a minor in 1997 when the abuse allegedly started, claims she was abused by the singer for four years.

R. Kelly: career and scandal

Perhaps the reason that Kelly’s latest legal trouble continues to fascinate is because of who Kelly was to r&b music. Some people have refused to believe that the person who made music that makes them feel good is capable of doing what victims allege.

At this point, a book might be necessary to keep up with all of the trials, accusations, search warrants and raids that have been a part of the Kelly proceedings up to this point.

Whether Kelly is still creative during this time remains to be seen. If Kelly does make music relevant to his legal issues, audiences might wonder what position he will take. Will he blame victims? Would he make himself a victim? Or would he offer apologies? Right now, especially with the “not guilty plea,” it does not look as if Kelly will be apologizing to anyone soon.

Kelly’s legal woes are sure to heat up when the trial gets underway in July.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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