Attorneys For R. Kelly Assert That A Government Witness Attempted To Extort The Singer
On Wednesday (Aug. 24), defence attorneys in R. Kelly’s child pornography trial in Chicago attempted to portray a key government witness as a liar and an extortionist, claiming that the man approached the R&B star in 2001 and demanded $1 million or go public with video that could land Kelly in serious legal trouble.
Charles Freeman, a former Kelly merchandising agent, testified Tuesday under cross-examination for seven hours that Kelly approached him first and eventually offered Freeman $1 million to recover a VHS tape featuring Kelly.
On Wednesday, Kelly’s legal team was led by attorney Jennifer Bonjean, who told Freeman, “your entire relationship with (Kelly) revolved around stealing from him and lying to him.” “You were part of a shakedown scheme, right?” she asked a few minutes later. “No!” exclaimed the author. Freeman screamed. “I am not a thief,” he continued.
Federal prosecutors say the recording proves Kelly sexually abused a 14-year-old girl, so he’s been charged with child pornography. He and co-defendant Derrel McDavid are also accused of threatening witnesses and concealing video evidence in order to rig Kelly’s state child pornography trial in 2008.
Brindley also claimed that Freeman lied under oath when he claimed to have found the tape Kelly was looking for in Atlanta in 2001 but hadn’t seen the contents until later that day. Brindley claimed that Freeman never came to Atlanta and that he already had potentially incriminating video of Kelly, which he was using to extort Kelly.
Isn’t that basically what happened? The question was posed by Brindley. That assertion is refuted by Freeman.
Freeman claimed that the main reason he agreed to track down the video was to help his friend Kelly, whom he had known since around 1990.
Freeman admitted to keeping duplicates of the videos for nearly two decades. He explained in court that he did not turn them over to authorities until a lawyer informed him in 2019 that he was about to be arrested for having child pornography.
After Freeman laughed when questioned about his long-term storage of child pornography, Brindley asked, “Is this funny?” Are you enjoying yourself? Yes, I am,” Freeman responded.
“Are you pleased with your results?” the question asks. The question was posed by Brindley.
Freeman flatly denied the accusation, saying, “I am not.”
Some jurors told reporters after Kelly’s acquittal in 2008 that they felt they had no choice because the girl, then in her twenties, refused to testify to confirm it was her in the video at the centre of the state’s case. She testified last week in a federal trial in Chicago, claiming she was the child in the video and Kelly was the adult.
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