Desperate R. Kelly Offered $1 Million For Return Of Video Showing Alleged Assault: Witness

CHICAGO (AP) — A former merchandizing agent for R. Kelly testified Tuesday that the singer supplied him $1 million to discover a VHS tape that includes Kelly as prosecutors sought to steer jurors that Kelly was determined to get well the lacking recording, figuring out it may land him in authorized peril if it fell into the palms of regulation enforcement.

Primarily based partly on that recording, which prosecutors say reveals the R&B star sexually abusing a 14-year-old lady, Kelly faces prices that embrace manufacturing of kid pornography. He’s additionally accused of fixing his 2008 state youngster pornography trial by threatening witnesses and endeavoring to hide video proof.

Charles Freeman testified Tuesday that Kelly reached out to him in 2001 to ask him to search out the recording. Freeman, a 52-year-old from Kansas Metropolis, additionally defined how he pressured Kelly and his associates for years to pay him the total $1 million after Freeman discovered and returned the tape.

Freeman instructed jurors he didn’t know the contents of the video till after he retrieved it from a house in Atlanta in 2001 after which slipped it right into a VHS participant at a pal’s dwelling later that day.

“I observed Robert Kelly with a young lady having sex,” he mentioned.

When a prosecutor requested Freeman, who testified Tuesday beneath an immunity settlement, why it took him almost 20 years to show the recording over to police that and different recordings of kid pornography tied to Kelly, Freeman responded: “Because the police wasn’t going to pay me a million dollars.”

Kelly, 55, is already serving a 30-year jail sentence imposed by a federal choose in New York in June for his 2021 convictions on racketeering and intercourse trafficking prices. If convicted in Chicago, he may see years added to that sentence.

At his 2008 trial, at which Kelly was in the end acquitted, state prosecutors described Kelly lugging a duffel bag filled with his do-it-yourself youngster pornography tapes in every single place he went. Regardless of Kelly’s efforts within the Nineties to maintain them shut, some leaked out or have been stolen by disgruntled employees or associates, prosecutors mentioned.

After acquitting Kelly in 2008, some jurors instructed reporters they’d no alternative however to seek out Kelly not responsible as a result of the lady — who then was in her 20s — didn’t take the witness stand to verify it was her within the video. Final week, she did testify on the federal path in Chicago, saying she was the minor within the video and Kelly was the grownup man.

However truly getting the $1 million Freeman mentioned he was promised by Kelly grew to become an all-consuming process that lasted years, he instructed jurors.

Quickly after Freeman discovered the video, he met with two Kelly associates in 2001 at a Kansas Metropolis resort anticipating to obtain the total fee, Freeman testified. When he walked right into a room and noticed two brown luggage full of money, he instructed jurors he knew instantly it wasn’t sufficient.

“That ain’t no million dollars,” he recalled telling Kelly’s individuals.

Freeman mentioned he ended up leaving with one paper bag full of $75,000 in money after being assured he’d finally get the total $1 million. Even after turning over the tape and getting partial fee, Freeman retained huge leverage over Kelly, together with the likelihood that he may go public with what he knew.

Freeman described himself stalking Kelly at live shows to demand he pay the stability of the $1 million, threatening to go public with what he knew and submitting lawsuits to squeeze Kelly to pay. He mentioned every menace and lawsuit sometimes led to Kelly associates throwing extra money at Freeman, generally actually.

One other time at R. Kelly’s suburban Chicago dwelling, Freeman mentioned a Kelly affiliate and now co-defendant on the ongoing trial, Derrel McDavid, instructed Freeman to take off all his garments and get into Kelly’s swimming pool so he may be certain Freeman wasn’t carrying a recording gadget for regulation enforcement.

“I ain’t getting in no pool naked,” Freeman recalled telling McDavid. Freeman mentioned he finally did take off his shirt to point out he wasn’t carrying a wire.

Later, as he pulled out of a car parking zone, McDavid gave Freeman one other installment, tossing a brown bag with $100,000 in ten bundles of $10,000 by Freeman’s open automobile window.

McDavid and one other Kelly affiliate, Milton Brown, are on trial with Kelly. McDavid is accused of serving to Kelly repair the 2008 trial, whereas Brown is charged with receiving youngster pornography. Like Kelly, additionally they have denied wrongdoing.

Freeman testified that in late 2003 or early 2004, McDavid approached him once more about recovering yet one more tape that had gone lacking from Kelly’s assortment. He mentioned he instructed McDavid, “If I gotta recover another tape, you gotta pay me another million dollars.”

Freeman is predicted to take the stand once more Wednesday, when protection attorneys can have their probability to cross-examine him.

Observe Michael Tarm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mtarm and discover AP’s full protection of the R. Kelly trial at https://apnews.com/hub/r-kelly.