After last week’s graphic and emotional testimony, prosecutors in R. Kelly’s latest trial in Chicago turned jurors’ attention Monday to a straightforward federal agent who helped them “follow the money” at issue in an alleged obstruction-of-justice conspiracy.
Jason Scharer, a special agent for IRS Criminal Investigation, spent the morning testing about bank and credit card records, vehicle purchases and hotel stays, as well as a purported $1.3 million settlement deal between Kelly and his former business manager — and now co-defendant — Derrel McDavid.
As part of that deal, McDavid allegedly agreed not to make any statements about the highly personal information he’d learned about Kelly.
Scharer’s testimony marked a drastic shift in tenor from the first few days of Kelly’s trial, when jurors heard from a 37-year-old woman, referred to as “Jane,” who said Kelly sexually abused her multiple times starting when she was around 14 Jurors also spent Friday afternoon viewing graphic video recordings, allegedly depicting Jane’s abuse.
Now prosecutors seem to be shifting their focus to the alleged attempt by Kelly and members of his team to protect the star as investigations began to swirl around him, leading to his child pornography indictment in 2002 and subsequent trial in 2008.
That trial ended in Kelly’s acquittal.
Among other things, jurors heard Monday about $79,579 paid by Kelly entities to Jane’s parents between 2006 and 2012, as well as details of their stay at an Atlantis resort in the Bahamas in early 2002. That’s when a tape allegedly depicting Kelly abusing Jane was sent anonymously to the Chicago Sun-Times. The newspaper turned it over to police.
Jurors also heard about a $125,000 wire transfer in 2009 from Kelly’s Bass Productions that allegedly led to payments for Charles Freeman, who was enlisted by Kelly’s team to help track down videos allegedly depicting Kelly’s sexual abuse of minors.
Kelly is already serving a 30-year federal prison sentence for his racketeering conviction last year in New York. In his new trial, he faces charges alleging child pornography, obstruction of justice and the enticement of minors into criminal sexual activity.
Also on trial are McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, a onetime assistant to Kelly.
Defense attorneys last week described to jurors in an environment in which women falsely leveled accusations against Kelly for cash settlements, and they decried government witnesses as extortionists with immunity deals.