R. Kelly’s former business manager Derrel McDavid, one of the singer’s two co-defendants in his federal trial in Chicago, is expected to take the stand in his own defense on Wednesday, as the trial nears an end.
McDavid originally had been expected to testify on Tuesday, but the Dirksen Federal Courthouse was forced to close due to “building-wide system failures,” causing a delay in Kelly’s trial.
Kelly’s defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, has asked the judge in the case to bar certain testimony she argues would unfairly prejudice the jury against her client – including anything related to Kelly’s marriage to 15-year-old singer Aaliyah; anything related to Kelly receiving injections or other treatment to “curb his sexual appetite”; anything regarding lawsuits or settlements of sexual misconduct claims involving other Kelly accusers; anything relating to Kelly’s alleged sex addictions; or Kelly’s relationships with other women not named in the indictment.
Bonjean also wants to cross-examine McDavid after federal prosecutors get their chance to question him.
Kelly, McDavid, and former Kelly assistant Milton “June” Brown face federal charges accusing them of conspiring to cover up Kelly’s sexual abuse of children by buying back incriminating videotapes, and paying off or intimidating witnesses at his 2008 trial on child pornography tapes.
US District Judge Harry Leinenweber said he already had ruled neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys could bring up Kelly’s ties to Aaliyah, the singer Kelly married when he was 27 and she was 15. The marriage was later annulled.
Leinenweber said he will rule later on some of the other topics Kelly’s attorneys want to bar from testimony.
Before testimony resumed in the trial on Wednesday, Leinenweber granted a motion from attorneys for longtime music critic Jim DeRogatis to quash a subpoena from McDavid’s attorneys calling on him to testify about a videotape sent to DeRogatis at the Chicago Sun-Times in the early 2000s, Allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a then 14-year-old girl.
DeRogatis and attorneys at The New Yorker, who hired him to cover Kelly’s federal racketeering trial in New York last year, argued McDavid’s attorneys are trying to “put his newsgathering on trial.”
“Virtually all knowledge that DeRogatis has that may be relevant to the indictment in this case, if there is any such information, necessarily derives from his third party sources with direct knowledge of the facts and therefore would be inadmissible hearsay,” DeRogatis’ attorneys wrote . “Because Mr. DeRogatis’ role has been as an investigative reporter, compelled testimony also is invasive as to his newsgathering methods and cumulative of the actual sources and their source materials.”
As for any testimony about the tape that was sent to DeRogatis, his attorneys noted a Chicago Police detective already has tested at Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago to authenticate the tape, which was handed over to CPD by a Sun-Times editor after it was sent to DeRogatis. They also noted the alleged victim in the video, testing under the pseudonym “Jane,” has tested that it’s her in the video.
Leinenweber said DeRogatis did not need to testify after McDavid’s attorneys said they only wanted to ask him whether the video he received and gave to police was the same one in evidence at Kelly’s trial. The judge said that testimony would not serve any purpose.