R&B star R. Kelly was acquitted on Friday of 14 counts of child pornography, which stemmed from a video that prosecutors alleged featured Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13 years old. The defense argued that the man in the video didn’t have a large mole on his back, as Kelly does, and that the alleged victim was trying to extort money from Kelly. (AP)
What the commentators said
To be completely “honest,” said Tom Breihan in the Village Voice’s Status Ain’t Hood blog, when I heard that R. Kelly had been acquitted, a part of me was glad. Nobody wants their favorite musician locked up and silenced. But this “seems to be one of those cases where money and starpower made all the difference, which is pretty gross.”
No matter how anyone feels about Kelly or the allegations against him, said Kathy Chaney in the Chicago Defender Online, the trial is over. In the end, “the verdict hinged on whether the jury believed 100 percent that the alleged victim was who the prosecution said she was,” and jurors said “it was the lack of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that kept Kelly out of the Illinois prison system.”
A jury found Kelly not guilty, said Jim DeRogatis in the Chicago Sun-Times. But innocent? Kelly often sings about "asking God to forgive him for unnamed sins,” and it would be hard to find a singer who "has so jarringly mixed the sacred and the profane or so thoroughly aired his sexual desires for the benefit of so large an audience.” And if music industry experts are right, the publicity surrounding Kelly’s trial and acquittal will only help boost his record sales and downloads.