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Press Release

Recording Artist Robert Kelly Convicted on Federal Child Pornography and Exploitation Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A federal jury in Chicago today convicted recording artist ROBERT SYLVESTER KELLY, also known as “R. Kelly,” on child pornography and exploitation charges.

Evidence at the four-week trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago revealed that Kelly enticed multiple girls to engage in sexual activity and recorded some of the abuse on videotape.  Kelly met the victims in the late 1990s and engaged in sex acts with them while they were under the age of eighteen.   

Kelly, 55, of Chicago, was convicted on three counts of producing child pornography and three counts of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity.  Each count of producing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in federal prison and a maximum of 20 years.  The maximum sentence for each count of enticement of a minor is ten years.  In all, Kelly faces a sentence of ten to 90 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber did not immediately set a sentencing date.

The conviction was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; R. Sean Fitzgerald, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago; and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  Substantial assistance was provided by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeannice W. Appenteng, Elizabeth R. Pozolo, Jason A. Julien, and Brian F. Williamson represented the government.

The jury acquitted Kelly on seven other counts, including one count of child pornography, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, and two counts of enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.  The jury also acquitted two co-defendants, who were former employees of Kelly’s music business: DERREL MCDAVID, 61, of Chicago (acquitted of one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, and two counts of receiving child pornography) and MILTON BROWN, also known as “June Brown,” 56, of Chicago (acquitted of one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography).

“The guilty verdicts finally hold Robert Kelly accountable for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl, and they help right the wrongs that occurred in a prior prosecution in Cook County,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “The damage Mr. Kelly inflicted on his victims is immeasurable.  I want to thank the victims for their strength, perseverance, and courage in coming forward to testify at trial.  With regard to the not-guilty verdicts, we respect the jury’s decision.  While certain aspects of the charges and the trial made it difficult to obtain convictions for all of the charged conduct, it is clear that justice has been served by the guilty verdicts returned today.”

Updated September 14, 2022

Violent Crime
Human Trafficking