Closing arguments begin in the Chicago federal trial of singer R. Kelly who faces a 13-count indictment on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/24864105aebfdedab071cd61925fb4dc/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Closing arguments begin in the Chicago federal trial of singer R. Kelly who faces a 13-count indictment on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 12 (UPI) — The first day of closing arguments in the Chicago federal trial of R. Kelly wrapped up Monday with prosecutors describing the R&B singer as a “sexual predator.”

Kelly, 55, faces a 13-count indictment on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges, along with two former associates.

“Kelly and his team, they did their level best … to cover up the fact that Robert Kelly, R. Kelly the R&B superstar, is actually a sexual predator. They did their best, but in the end, they failed,” Assistant Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo told the packed courtroom.

Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is accused of coercing five children into sex acts, including his 14-year-old goddaughter “Jane,” and creating child pornography between September 1998 and September 1999, court records obtained by UPI show.

Kelly was tried in Chicago in 2008 and was acquitted on 14 counts of producing child pornography. A video from that trail has become a key piece of evidence in his new trial.

“We are here today because those tapes that they concealed for 20 years are no longer their secret,” Pozolo told jurors. “You have seen the tapes. You have seen what Kelly did to Jane.”

Four women, including “Jane,” accused Kelly of sexually abusing them when they were girls. While “Jane” denied that Kelly abused her in his 2008 child pornography trial, she testified in this trial that Kelly intimidated her and her family and paid them off to keep the abuse secret.

Kelly faces additional charges for allegedly conspiring to fix the 2008 trial with Derrel McDavid, a former employee who is a co-defendant in the latest trial. A third man, Milton Brown, has also been charged for having allegedly received missing recordings of the child sex abuse.

McDavid’s attorney told jurors in his closing argument the prosecution was based on untrustworthy witnesses and that McDavid could not have known whether Kelly was sexually abusing minors.

“The man didn’t know,” attorney Beau Brindley said. “They’ve got nothing! … Their case can’t be trusted.”

During closing arguments, a juror was excused from the panel after she reported suffering a panic attack. The juror was the second to be replaced during the trial due to a medical issue.

Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean, the attorney who helped comedian Bill Cosby get his criminal sexual assault conviction overturned in Pennsylvania, is expected to deliver her closing argument Tuesday.

Kelly is already facing 30 years in prison after he was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking charges in federal court in New York last year. If he is convicted of the federal charges in Chicago, Kelly could face additional decades in prison.

“In sum, Robert Kelly abused many girls over many years. He committed horrible crimes against children. And he didn’t do it alone,” Pozolo said. “The hidden side of Robert Kelly has come to light. The truth has come out.”

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