June 7, 2007, - 12:44 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Remember R. Kelly, the R & B singer who–FIVE YEARS AGO!–was charged with 21 counts of child pornography, and has yet to stand trial?
Well, yesterday, his new salacious and sleazy CD, “Double Up,” hit #1 on the Billboard charts, selling 386,000 copies.
So how does a man get away with never facing trial, five years after the charges?
And why did Oprah Winfrey–who uses her show to bounty hunt child molesters–invite R. Kelly to walk the red carpet at the Chicago debut of her musical, “The Color Purple”? HOprah, herself, led R. Kelly down the red carpet, according to Newsweek. Why? Apparently she’s not as opposed to child molesters and rapists as she claims.
A Newsweek report by Allison Samuels describes the absurd Paris-Hilton style “justice” that R. Kelly is getting and why he is still walking the streets and purveying hit albums. The report does not explain the utter hypocrisy of Oprah gettin’ cozy with Mr. Kelly:
Janice Forest did a double take as she waited to be seated two weeks ago at the Cadillac Theater in Chicago. It was the opening night of the musical “The Color Purple,” and only Chicago’s A list were on the red carpet, led by the show’s producer, Oprah Winfrey. Somewhere in the procession of Windy City luminaries came R&B star R. Kelly. Kelly, wearing his Sunday-best dark suit, black and white spectator shoes and neatly braided cornrows, worked the crowd with the confidence of a man without a care in the world. Forest just stared at him, in shock. “This is a guy who ought to be in jail in my mind,” says Forest, a 43-year-old customer-service rep who lives on the South Side. “How dare he show up at a play about rape like all is forgotten?”
Kelly may very well believe that’s true. Despite being arrested and charged with 21 counts of child pornography in June 2002, Kelly, 41, has yet to stand trial. The Cook County prosecutor’s office says that Kelly isn’t likely to face a judge any time soon, despite a 26-minute videotape that allegedly shows him having sex with (and urinating on) an underage girl. A bootleg copy, called “Rated R Kelly Triple XXX, Vol. 1,” has been a top seller on numerous porn Web sites and inner-city street corners for years. Yet next week, Kelly will release a new album, “Double Up.” It’s his third CD–since his arrest.
How did this happen? Some of the delays were caused by legitimate, if slightly bizarre, reasons, including Kelly’s burst appendix and a judge who hurt himself falling off a ladder. Kelly’s lawyers have maintained all along that it is not the singer in the video, despite the uncanny resemblance. “This is a cloud over his head as well,” says Allan Mayer, the singer’s spokesperson. “No one wants this over more than Mr. Kelly.” But he’s not acting like a man in a hurry to clear his name. Kelly’s lawyers have always had the option of invoking the speedy trial rule that mandates the case begin in four months or be dropped. They never have. Shauna Boliker, the head of the Cook County state’s attorney’s Sex Crime Unit, says the last five years have been filled with endless legal maneuvers. “His lawyers have filed 25 to 30 motions, and that’s just not the norm in any case,” says Boliker. “And the people who are really suffering are the victims.” Those victims may be the real reason for Kelly’s nonrush to judgment. People knowledgeable about the case, who don’t want to be identified because the trial hasn’t begun, say they think Kelly and his lawyers are stalling until the young girls become adults, when they’ll be less sympathetic victims–and, in the case of the girl in the video, less recognizable. (Kelly’s lawyer did not return calls for comment.) . . .
You’d think that the state would have a strong case. Kelly had a well-known interest in minors. In 1994, he illegally married the singer Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 28. Kelly has reportedly been sued four times by women who claimed some type of sexual misconduct; Kelly is believed to have settled all of the cases for unspecified amounts. Some people say there were other incidents as well. “A lot of people knew what was going on and chose to look the other way,” says one of Kelly’s former employees, who admits to being one of those people. “He wasn’t doing this without help.”
So, Oprah, why are you hangin’ with a child rapist? And why did you make him a guest of honor at your musical?
And America, why are you buying R. Kelly’s product? If you’re one of the 386,000–or their parents–you are as much to blame as Queen HOprah.
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