Jim DeRogatis, A Music Writer, Is Fighting A Subpoena To Testify In R. Kelly’s Chicago Trial.


According to a Tuesday court filing, a music writer who spent decades raising awareness about sexual misconduct allegations against R. Kelly is fighting a bid to force him to testify at the R&B singer’s federal trial on child pornography and trial-fixing charges.


Kelly, who was acquitted in the state trial in 2008, is now facing federal charges of enticing minors for sex in her hometown. McDavid and Kelly are both charged with pornography.

The trial was supposed to resume Wednesday, after the Labor Day holiday and after the courthouse unexpectedly closed Tuesday due to “operational issues.” Leinenweber is expected to rule on whether DeRogatis, co-host of the public radio show “Sound Opinions,” will have to testify on Wednesday morning.


Prosecutors took a week off last week, and the defence could be finished by the end of this week. Kelly, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in a separate federal trial in New York in June.

It’s unclear what defence lawyers would ask DeRogatis during Kelly’s current trial. However, in filings and public statements, they raised chain-of-custody concerns about how video evidence ended up in the hands of police. They also claim DeRogatis provided prosecutors with a draught of his book about Kelly.


Tuesday’s filing, also on behalf of The New Yorker magazine, for whom DeRogatis writes, cites rulings by a Chicago-based U.S. appellate court that compel reporters to testify in cases they’ve covered should be done only in exceptional circumstances and only when there are no other options for introducing the same information.

According to the filing, a Chicago police detective has already testified for the prosecution in order to explain the chain of custody of video evidence. According to the report, another key government witness who went by the alias “Jane” testified that she and Kelly were the people in several video excerpts.

Calling the outspoken Kelly critic to testify could amount to “harassment or intimidation,” according to the filing, because there are other ways to get the same facts into evidence. It also cites reports that after the Sun-Times reported on Kelly, a window at the DeRogatis family home was shot out.

Kelly released a song called “I Admit” four years ago in which he attempted to call out the writer, singing: “To Jim DeRogatis, whatever your name is/You been tryna destroy me for 25 whole years.” Kelly admitted to being “so falsely accused,” but added, “I admit I have made some mistakes/And I have some imperfect ways.”

DeRogatis testified in Kelly’s 2008 trial but refused to answer questions, citing an Illinois law that protects reporters’ rights as well as the First Amendment’s free press and right against self-incrimination.

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