JUSTICE/OPINION

“Not Guilty” Is Not Innocence

Aaron McGruder wins the pool. His take-no-prisoners comic strip, “The Boondocks,” and its Cartoon Network counterpart predicted years ago that R. Kelly would beat his child pornography case, largely because of the public’s adoration of celebrities. That may be precisely what happened last Friday in that Chicago courtroom. At first, I was surprised by this travesty of justice. Then I wasn’t. Now, I’m just disgusted. This jury blew it worse than the Lakers.

Despite a procession of witnesses who identified Kelly and the alleged victim, Roshonda Landfair, in the kinky home video, jurors decided that they couldn’t tell who the young female in the tape is (although most were convinced that the man is Kelly). “You want to be 100 percent sure… (and) what we had wasn’t enough,” said one juror.

That’s deep. “110%” sure was the term used by R. Kelly’s former personal assistant, Lindsay Perryman, one of several witnesses who recognized the alleged victim. Along with Perryman, a handful of Ms. Landfair’s former classmates and longtime friends, plus an adult guardian, two of her former basketball coaches and a retired Chicago PD detective were all certain that Roshonda Landfair is the underage girl on the tape. But the jury was confused.

Following the script of so many previous sexual misconduct cases, the R. Kelly trial shifted away from the accused exploiter of teenage girls and onto those pointing the finger at him. The defense made a huge deal out of claiming that prosecution witness Lisa Van Allen (the woman who said she had threesomes with Kelly and a teenage Landfair) tried to shake Kelly down for big money in exchange for her silence. Jurors apparently fell for the defense argument that the case was “all about extortion” and factored that into their non-guilty verdict.

I don’t doubt that Van Allen may have tried to squeeze R. Kelly for money. Just like I don’t doubt that Kelly offered her $250,000 to recover a different sex tape. But even if Van Allen was an extortionist, what does that prove? That she was out to get him? Maybe. But it does not prove that of all those other witnesses were wrong. And it sure as heck doesn’t prove that Kelly is innocent.

According to the Associated Press, R. Kelly was “visibly stunned” when the not guilty verdicts were read. O.J. Simpson had the same look on his face when he got off. Michael Jackson may have had the look, too, but it seems that his face is no longer capable of registering visible expressions. Guilty people are often stunned when they get away with mess – especially when a convincing case has been built against them. Make no mistake, the case against R. Kelly is more than convincing and in the Court of Common Sense. He’s guilty as sin.

This is the same guy who settled three similar cases out of court, married a 15-year-old girl (Aaliyah) and was cold-busted with explicit photos of an underage girl on his still camera (that case didn’t reach Florida courts because an appeals court ruled that the search warrant the cops used when they found the pics was issued improperly).

But the Pied Piper will no doubt play on – in the studio, onstage and probably behind closed doors. His fans don’t care and the Hip Hop Nation will probably give Roshonda Landfair a merit badge for “not snitching.”

Cameron Turner is graduate of Stanford University whose editorials, entertainment news features and audio documentaries have appeared on national radio networks, online and in print for over 20 years.


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Comments

June 18th, 2008 at 12:10 am Tawnie says:

See I heard he got off but didn’t hear the details of how it went down. This is crazy.

June 18th, 2008 at 12:22 am kamalp says:

Ain’t nobody checkin for this dude no more. Black ppl have had it I think. Ppl wasn’t feelin the verdict. I think he is over. He’s like an OJ now. We done disowned him.

June 18th, 2008 at 12:28 am Coretta Scott Queen says:

A ) I like that UTC is changing earlier now because I can read it before I turn in.
B ) I like this new picture of you. It is very flattering and I enjoyed watching you on TV and thought your picture didn’t do you justice - but this one does.
C ) I agree with Kamal P that I feel in the air that the community is finally feed up with this shell of a man. I’d be surprised if he had the same level of success on the next try on the charts.

June 18th, 2008 at 1:15 am SweetSis says:

He is guilty and everyone believes that BUT unfortunately it will take one hot track and he’ll be back in business.

June 18th, 2008 at 1:16 am SweetSis says:

And you know the man can whip up a hot track in 2.2 seconds.

June 18th, 2008 at 2:43 am Binta Rohan says:

Yes I heard it was the extortion tangent that won it for him. Kind of like the Iraq War tangent for 911. The jury was blinded by a fake issue that deterred them from the real justice that needed to be served.

June 18th, 2008 at 6:50 am Kennydope says:

What’s true is that he will come out with a song along the lines of “can’t nobody hold me down” and folks will buy it up just like they did everything else he does. Disturbing

June 18th, 2008 at 7:12 am superjonsey1 says:

I was a fan and I care. R. Kelly is over in my book. A real sicko.

June 18th, 2008 at 7:55 am StopLoss Sweetie says:

Is there tape of the verdict being read? I would like to see that “stunned look” on his face.

June 18th, 2008 at 8:14 am CeaseNYC says:

sucks but cameron is right that this dude is right back in the studio and with his talent he will land on his feet. last time he eased in doing tracks on the cheap for lowlevels like omarion and marques houston that got radio spins, then he hit with the gimmick in the closet stuff. since it was so clever and all characters and he wasn’t selling himself moreso than the story, people let it slide. the dude is shrewd and smart. he’ll come up with something to get back in the mix.

June 18th, 2008 at 9:13 am kettleblack says:

Them jurors were blind & should have kept their mouths shut about what they based their dumb decision on. Losers.

June 18th, 2008 at 10:21 am chica22 says:

I’m positive someone had made this connection before - although I never heard it - but isn’t the Pied Piper a man who goes thru the village and lures children in with his music?! What the hell?!

June 18th, 2008 at 10:24 am chica22 says:

From Wikipedia:
While the inhabitants were in church, he played his pipe again, this time attracting the children of Hamelin. One hundred and thirty boys and girls followed him out of the town, where they were lured into a cave and never seen again.

June 18th, 2008 at 10:24 am chica22 says:

Perv

June 18th, 2008 at 11:10 am bubblinbrown says:

We can’t complain when we still shakin a tail feather to his misogynistic music

June 18th, 2008 at 11:19 am truevine says:

So real so true

June 18th, 2008 at 11:52 am lolalove says:

I think someone got to that juror and scared them. the evidence was just too dang good for this to happen

June 18th, 2008 at 12:52 pm heatmizer says:

Yep, I remember that Boondocks episode. Who knew it would take 5 years for NO JUSTICE

June 18th, 2008 at 1:01 pm culturepop says:

Cameron I agree on this. Celebrity court cases always have some kind of bias that just ain’t right.

June 18th, 2008 at 1:52 pm pmatters says:

Does it really matter who the victim is. He did and she is under age. You can see that on the tape. He is so not sexy.

June 18th, 2008 at 3:24 pm Friendlee says:

Good details. I was so caught up with work that Friday the verdict came out that I didn’t even read up on specifics, I was just disgusted and moved on but this is reporting I needed to know. He Johnny Cochranned his way out of it it seems.

June 18th, 2008 at 4:10 pm Tina says:

I couldn’t believe it either. Simply speechless whenevr I think of it.

June 18th, 2008 at 5:25 pm thelma says:

He’s always been a weirdo. He can make a beat and write a song, but that don’t make him above nothing

June 18th, 2008 at 5:29 pm Torian Salary says:

Totally Agree

June 18th, 2008 at 6:30 pm Jesse Peters says:

Everybody knows whats up. I don’t think he will play on like he did before, Cameron.

June 18th, 2008 at 7:16 pm Kenneth Boston says:

They should put that cat under the jail.

June 18th, 2008 at 8:22 pm Regina Holloway says:

I agree with #B from Coretta :)

June 18th, 2008 at 9:24 pm Red Razor says:

The big question will be which artists choose to bypass their morality and scruples and work with him as producer. Who won’t be able to resist that hot track Cease describes. I’ll be watching to see who slips on that for sure.

June 18th, 2008 at 10:22 pm hootrat says:

I DONT AGREE KAMAL I THINK THE OPPOSITE WILL HAPPEN

June 18th, 2008 at 10:26 pm buttabrown says:

The Michael Jackson line was priceless. And its going to take a minte to get ova this one

June 19th, 2008 at 1:15 am Destah Owens says:

KamalP: I wish you were right, but even though he is the author of such classics as “i like the crotch on you” he will put out a hit that everyone will be checkin’ for at the club. It’s sad. The failure of the justice system knows no bounds.

June 19th, 2008 at 1:22 am Chatty Cathy says:

Preach it!

June 20th, 2008 at 1:19 pm Cameron says:

Coretta Scott Queen, thank you for your compliments my sistah! I’m trying to rock this gray hair and represent for all the 40+ brothas! LOL

June 21st, 2008 at 3:28 pm Cameron Turner says:

Creeps like R. Kelly are EVERYWHERE and we all have to do a much better job of protecting our kids. It’s disturbing to read that Barry Hankerson (Aaliyah’s uncle?) and some other “responsible” grown folks urged R. to “get help” for his little girl compulsion. In other words, they knew but did nothing.

June 21st, 2008 at 3:29 pm Cameron Turner says:

Chica22… thanks for reminding us of the original Pied Piper. I don’t know who gave R. that moniker, but it really does take on skin-crawling connotations now.