The highly controversial and publicized trial of R. Kelly is set to begin later this month, and the judge presiding the trial has allowed the use of cameras to record the proceedings amidst the objection of the alleged victims.
Presiding Judge Lawrence Flood has ruled that cameras will be allowed in the courthouse during the trial regardless of the strong objection of two of the four women involved in the case. The two women wrote to Flood specifically to request the judge to prohibit the use of cameras in the courtroom during the trial.
R. Kelly, the famous R&B singer, is charged by four women with ten counts of sexual abuse against three underage girls and one woman. Both of the women opposing the use of a camera in the courtroom during the trial were underage during the time that the sexual abuse was supposedly committed.
“I have no interest in being a media spectacle,” wrote one of the victims to Flood, highlighting how Kelly’s legal team has systematically shamed the victims in different instances in the past.
However, Kelly’s legal representative Steve Greenberg, the trial has to be “open” and “transparent” so that people who are following the proceedings can form their own opinions based on facts and not on rumors.
“Mr. Kelly wants everyone to know what is going on in an open and transparent process. People can form their own opinions about what they see, and they don’t have to rely on rumor and innuendo,” said Greenberg during an interview.
Kelly, who built his career as the King of R&B, has been accused of multiple counts of sexual assault by four women who he was allegedly had sex with while they were still underage. Kelly has been in a lot of legal troubles in the past few months and has been in and out of prison for different charges aside from the sexual abuse cases.
He was recently released from jail after an anonymous donor has paid the amount he owed for child support from his ex-wife and three children. Kim Foxx, the state attorney for Cook County, told reporters that the alleged crimes took place between 1998 and 2010. A court clerk in earlier reports said that nine of the charges involve minors with ages between 13 and 16.
Foxx said that felony charges carry three to seven years of imprisonment per count. That means R. Kelly is possible to be jailed for thirty to seventy years if all counts are ruled against him.
Nonetheless, Judge Flood maintains that witnesses have the right to stop recording their testimony upon request to protect their identities. According to reports, the two women who wrote to the judge have confirmed that their statements will not be televised.
As alleged victims of sexual assault, the women involved in the case has the right to be protected from any form of intimidation and harassment throughout the trial. To publicize the hearing with a video camera exposes these four women to public examination with greater relentlessness and candor than if they were to remain unidentifiable to the public. That is the reason why most news outlets do not identify the identity of sexual abuse victims unless there is explicit consent from them through their own volition.
Kelly vehemently denied the accusations thrown at him to the extent that he made an emotional statement in one of his interviews to dismiss the sexual abuse claims of the women and their parents. He said that the relationship that occurred between him and the women are born out of “love.”
Steve Greenberg vowed to ‘vindicate’ the singer saying that he thinks that ‘all of the women are lying.’ He further dismissed the cases by saying that they were based on old and false accusations. “Everybody’s trying to profit off of R. Kelly,” he added.
Amid the denial of Kelly, new evidence has surfaced against R. Kelly including a video where he was caught during the act of the abuse and a t-shirt submitted by one of the victims containing Kelly’s DNA. Foxx alleges that the singer also spat on his victims during the attacks.
In an earlier statement, R. Kelly’s lawyer, Greenberg dismissed the claims against the singer saying “all the woman are lying.”
However, Michael Avenatti, legal counsel for one of the victims pushed back to Greenberg and called him ‘outrageous’ and ‘completely unprofessional.’ /apr