AceShowbiz - R. Kelly reportedly offered $1 million to recover an alleged child pornography tape. Evidence of the apparent bid, which they allege happened in 2000, was introduced by prosecutors at the disgraced R&B singer's Chicago trial.
The recording showed "I Believe I Can Fly" singer Kelly, 55, sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, the prosecutors said. He is facing charges including production of child pornography and of fixing his 2008 state child pornography trial by threatening witnesses and endeavouring to conceal video evidence.
A former "merchandising agent" for Kelly, Charles Freeman, testified about how Kelly reached out to him in 2001 to ask him to hunt down the recording. Freeman, 52, from Kansas City, added he pressured Kelly and his associates for years to pay him the full $1 million after he found and returned the tape.
He told jurors he didn't know the contents of the video, which he recovered from a home in Atlanta in 2001 until he put it into a VHS player at a friend's home later that day. Freeman told the court about its contents, "I observed Robert Kelly with a young lady having sex."
When a prosecutor asked Freeman, who testified Tuesday under an immunity agreement, why it took him nearly 20 years to turn over the tape and other recordings of child pornography linked to Kelly, Freeman replied, "Because the police wasn't going to pay me a million dollars."
Freeman admitted he went to see Kelly at concerts to demand he pay him the $1 million offered for the return of the tape he found, and threatened to go public with what he knew and file a lawsuit against Kelly to pay.
He claimed at one stage a Kelly associate ordered him to strip and get in a swimming pool during discussions to ensure he wasn't wearing a wire - which he refused.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is already serving a 30-year prison sentence imposed by a federal judge in New York in June for his 2021 convictions on racketeering and sex trafficking charges, and faces more years being added to his sentence if convicted after his ongoing Chicago trial.