Thomas Conner: May 2008 Archives

Kelly's trial-financing business plan?

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Author Earl Ofari Hutchinson, in a column at The Daily Voice, suspects R. Kelly has a financial backup plan in case of a conviction: "Here's a bet. Accused child pornographer and sexual panderer R. Kelly has three albums in the can ready for release. If Kelly is convicted of the multiple counts slapped against him in his Chicago trial, the albums will fly out the can fast and even faster off the store racks. Kelly's well documented penchant for underage teens, and his boasts and taunts in his songs, topped by the very real possibility that he had sex on the homemade, smutty videotape with a very underage teen, mean little to his legions of devoted fans."

His first claim may not be off the mark. Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis has noted before that nearly every time the Kelly trial seemed about to start during the last five years, the incredibly prolific R&B star has released new music. Before jury selection began this month, radio picked up his now ubiquitous new single "Hair-Braider" (listen).

But the second claim is more slippery: Can we claim that people who buy his records are truly indifferent to Kelly's alleged crimes? Perhaps many are simply uninformed — or, more likely, maybe an artist's personal woes just don't trump good music (subjective, I know). Granted, the O.J. Simpson book didn't exactly fly off the shelves, but Michael Jackson's income only started dipping when his albums started sucking, not as an immediate result of his own child sex trial.

That's today's report from the SOHH hip-hop blog, sharing a tip from an anonymous source claiming that Carey "Killa" Kelly — Robert's younger brother — will testify in the trial, asserting that Robert offered Carey a bribe to say that it's Carey pictured in the trial's centerpiece video, not Robert.

"He also has told several people in the Chi over the years," says the blog's source, "... that he has dirt on Kelly going way back."

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Carey Kelly, younger brother of R. Kelly, pictured in 2002. (Sun-Times file)

This would be the same Carey Kelly who told the Sun-Times: "And I say to America, the criminal justice system: If you let that nigger off, he's going to do it again, trust me. I bet my life on it."

Some background...

MTV on the R. Kelly case

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You'd be forgiven for thinking the R. Kelly trial had already come and gone, even if you couldn't remember the verdict. It's been five years of seemingly interminable delays, after all. What exactly took so long to get to today, when jury selection began in the R&B star's child-pornography case? In addition to reading the comprehensive coverage in the Sun-Times, here's a good summary of the slow-down from MTV.

Also, MTV2 will be showing a special, "R. Kelly: When the Gavel Drops," at 1 p.m. this Sunday.

R. Kelly on trial

The story of the allegations against R. Kelly started here in the Sun-Times. Almost six years later, it's now finally reached a trial.

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