R. Kelly acquitted of child porn charges

Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:06pm EDT
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By Nick Carey

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A jury acquitted R&B star R. Kelly of child pornography charges on Friday, finding he did not make an explicit videotape showing him having sex with an underage girl who called him "godfather."

Kelly, whose given name is Robert, cried and repeatedly whispered "thank you Jesus" after each not guilty finding was announced in the 14-count case, according to his lawyer. If found guilty, he could have faced a 15-year prison term.

The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated about six hours over two days before delivering the verdict. The 14 counts referred to specific acts depicted in the tape.

Minutes after the verdict was announced in Cook County Criminal Court, a red-eyed Kelly, 41, strode out of the courthouse via a barricaded entrance without a word to reporters or fans screaming his name.

He waved and climbed into a sport utility vehicle with tinted windows.

Two teenage girls ran through a hallway in the venerable Chicago courthouse screaming, "He's not guilty!"

The 26-minute videotape that was the focus of the case featured oral sex, masturbation and other explicit acts and was handed over to police by a Chicago newspaper reporter in 2002. It had circulated widely on the underground video market.


<p>Recording artist R. Kelly leaves the Cook County Criminal Courthouse after being acquitted of child pornography charges in Chicago June 13, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress</p>