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Former Employee Testifies He Now Doubts R. Kelly’s Abuse Denials | Celebrity News

CHICAGO (AP) — A former business manager for R. Kelly and his co-defendant in the singer’s federal trial in Chicago expressed doubts on the witness stand Thursday about Kelly’s insistence in the 2000s that ‘he never sexually abused minors – testifying a day after the former employee told jurors he had no reason to doubt his boss was telling the truth.

Derrell McDavid’s testimony, which could be a blow to Kelly’s acquittal hope, came at the end of McDavid’s second day on the stand. He and the Grammy winner are accused of successfully rigging Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial by threatening witnesses and concealing video evidence. Both also face child pornography charges.

Asked by his own lawyer, Beau Brindley, if he was in “a different position” now regarding the assessment of the allegations against Kelly after witnessing government testimony by four of Kelly’s accusers, McDavid replied solemnly: ” Yes I am.”

“The past (few) weeks…I’ve learned a lot…that I had no idea in 2008,” he said. When he added that “as I stand here today, I’m embarrassed…sad,” Kelly’s lead attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, objected. Judge Harry Leinenweber supported his objection.

McDavid, who earlier said he saw Kelly as a son, was also asked Thursday if he wanted to believe Kelly in the 2000s and up until the end of Kelly’s trial in 2008.

“I absolutely did,” he replied, “because I loved him and believed in him.”

It is in McDavid’s interest to say he believed Kelly for much of the 2000s because it undermines the government’s case that McDavid knew Kelly was guilty before the 2008 trial and would, if the evidence were not suppressed, condemned.

With jurors out of the courtroom earlier, Bonjean said she feared McDavid — as he ended up doing — was casting doubt on Kelly’s credibility. She said it would unfairly prejudice her client in the eyes of jurors and in some ways seal his fate.

Kelly’s defense team has repeatedly called for Kelly’s trial to be separated from McDavid’s and for Kelly to be tried alone, saying their interests in a joint trial would inevitably conflict. Leinenweber repeatedly denied this request.

Among the charges that Kelly alone faces in the current trial are five counts of incitement to sex with underage girls – one count for every five of Kelly’s accusers. McDavid’s testimony late Thursday could potentially lend credence to those charges.

Prosecutors are set to begin what could be a blistering cross-examination of McDavid on Friday. McDavid’s lengthy testimony appeared to open doors for prosecutors to ask him about otherwise off-limits topics, including evidence introduced by state prosecutors during Kelly’s 2008 trial.

Earlier Thursday, McDavid also said a push to retrieve Kelly’s alleged sex videos before the 2008 trial was prompted, not by himself or Kelly, but by Kelly’s now-deceased criminal attorney. , Ed Genson.

With this testimony, McDavid sought to distance himself from decisions to aggressively pursue videos before the 2008 trial, including offering six-figure payouts for lost or stolen videos.

The ongoing trial in Kelly’s hometown is, in a way, a rerun of that 2008 trial. A single video, which prosecutors say showed Kelly sexually abusing a girl around 14, was at the heart of this trial. The same video is in evidence in the ongoing trial.

The girl in the video, then an adult, did not testify in that 2008 trial, which jurors at the time said was one of the reasons they could not convict Kelly. She testified at the current trial under the pseudonym “Jane”.

McDavid, otherwise dry and pragmatic, appeared emotional for the first time in two days on the stand when asked Thursday how he felt when jurors in the 2008 trial acquitted Kelly of all charges.

“I was happy,” he said, his voice seeming to crack.

During a lunch break during McDavid’s testimony, McDavid stood next to Kelly seated at his defense table – the two chatting amiably.

On Thursday, McDavid told jurors that he and Kelly began to grow apart in the years after the 2008 trial, friction between them highlighted by financial disputes. He quit working for Kelly in 2014, he testified.

On Wednesday, McDavid told jurors he saw Jane as an underage girl hanging out in Kelly’s studio in the late 1990s. He said Kelly angrily denied rumors that he was sexually abusing Jane , whom Kelly described as her goddaughter.

“I believed him,” McDavid said.

Testifying earlier, Jane, now 37, said Kelly sexually assaulted her hundreds of times from the age of 14. She also said she was the daughter of the video at the center of the 2008 trial and was introduced as evidence in the current trial. She said Kelly produced it.

McDavid is the only one of the three defendants to testify on his own behalf. Kelly and Milton Brown, the third co-defendant, told the trial judge last week that they would not testify.

This trial follows a separate federal trial in New York, where Kelly, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in June.

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