Derrel McDavid, R. Kelly’s former business manager, defended himself Wednesday. He faces four federal charges — two of receiving child pornography, one of conspiracy to receive child pornography and one of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
McDavid is accused of conspiring with Kelly and former Kelly aide Milton “June” Brown to cover up the guilty sex tapes that allegedly showed the singer sexually abusing girls ahead of the 2008 Cook County child pornography trial, resulting in Kelly was acquitted.
McDavid, who was hired as Kelly’s accountant in the 1990s, describes his first meeting with Kelly early in the singer’s career. When Kelly asked him on the day he was hired if he had listened to his music, McDavid said he had not, and he told the jury Kelly seemed disappointed.
When he first met Kelly, McDavid described Kelly as a shy, introverted, modest kid.
“He just wanted to get into the music business and be successful,” McDavid testified.
As Kelly became a music superstar, McDavey said his work for the singer has grown too, saying Kelly went from little money to nearly $1 million after his first album went platinum.
McDavid said he first realized Kelly could be a superstar when he was traveling with his wife and son in Georgia while his wife was playing country music on the radio and Kelly’s first album “12 Play” One of the songs is also playing on the same station. McDavey said he glanced at his wife and said, “Looks like he made it.”
Describing Kelly as a “self-sufficient” artist, McDavid testified that Kelly was one of the most prolific songwriters of his day, writing lyrics, composing music, composing melodies, playing instruments, and producing music.
Eventually, McDavid became Kelly’s operations manager, handling all of his financial and business dealings, including writing checks, paying bills, buying cars and handling insurance. McDavid testified that Kelly didn’t want to be involved in the fees at all and wanted him to handle everything.
Asked how his own responsibilities had changed as Kelly’s career took off, McDavid said: “More money, more problems.”
McDavid said Kelly’s tour was the most expensive part of his career and his job was to keep Kelly profitable, which led to a row over tour fees, telling the jury Kelly “always wanted everything.”
Meanwhile, their business relationship morphed into a friendship, with McDavid at one point telling a jury he believed Kelly was his son.
McDavid said that while Kelly was shy with women when he first met, he later accepted the attention women paid to him as he became a superstar and started acting like most superstars, demanding that he get what he wanted. everything you want.
McDavid recalls that Kelly eventually began letting women see him and placing them in hotels. When asked if he was referring to teenage girls, he also testified that all of the women were adults.
McDavid also described friction between Kelly and his former manager, Barry Hankerson, as Kelly became increasingly successful. McDavid testified that the more successful Kelly was, the more time and attention he needed, while at the same time Hankerson became so controlling that he would show up at the studio with bodyguards as a form of intimidation means.
As the friction between Kelly and Hankerson grew, McDavid proved that Hankerson’s role in Kelly decreased while his own increased.
McDavey recounted an incident at a chicken coop in Los Angeles in 1999, when he said Hankerson walked in with a bouncer and overturned a lunch table, sparking an argument with Kelly that led to their death. Relations deteriorated further.
McDavid testified that he believed another incident occurred at a concert in Philadelphia when Kelly told him to call his attorney, Grimmagris, to fire Hankerson.
Talking about the first lawsuit Kelly ever faced, McDavey recounted the discovery of a paternity lawsuit brought against him by Tiffany Hawkins in 1997.
McDavid testified that he learned of the claim through Margolis, and during a conference call with Kelly and Margolis, Kelly told them “no,” he took a paternity test to prove he wasn’t the father .
McDavid testified that the paternity suit was later dropped, but Hawkins later filed a lawsuit alleging Kelly had sex with her when she was a minor. McDavid said he didn’t believe anything she said because she didn’t go to the police station.
“I think if you were going to claim that someone had sex with you when you were underage, you would go to the police station,” he testified.
McDavid said he told Margolis that he believed Hawkins sued Kelly to get money from him, something Margolis told him was common, almost the “cost of doing business” as a celebrity.
Although Margolis told him he believed Kelly would “be proven right,” they would still pay for the settlement, a decision McDavid testified he found confusing. But he said Margolis explained that even a false rumor of that kind would hurt Kelly and wasn’t worth a public fight.
McDavid also recalled attending Hawkins’ testimony in that lawsuit, claiming that Margolis proved she was lying seven hours later because he found her lies were more numerous than McDavid. It was clear Hawkins “just wanted to get paid,” he said.
McDavid testified Hawkins’ attorney, Susan Logans, asked Margolis what she could get, first asking for $10 million but agreeing to settle for $250,000. Compared to what Kelly was doing at the time, McDavid said the settlement was relatively trivial.
McDavey told the jury that Hawkins’ lawsuit has shaped his view of these types of cases, and Margolis told him that’s what happens when stars succeed.
After that case, McDavey testified that Logans later brought a series of “cookie-cutter” lawsuits against Kelly on behalf of other women, making similar claims to Hawkins’s and telling the jury he doubted them. Is it true because they are so similar.
McDavid recalled that Logans put up billboards and TV commercials asking women to “call me if you want to sue R. Kelly.” Those efforts, he testified, discredited Logans in his eyes.
McDavid’s attorney Bob Brindley also cited other occasions where he claimed women were taught that they had sexual contact with Kelly before she was 18 in order to win settlements.
McDavid said this led him to conclude that anyone who brought charges against Kelly without going to the police station was lying.
McDavid testified that in December 2000, he received a call from Kelly saying he was being harassed over an alleged inappropriate relationship with his 14-year-old goddaughter, “Jane.” McDavid testified that this was the first time he had heard about the relationship and asked Kelly if there were any problems with the allegations. He said Kelly quickly dismissed the idea, saying: “Are you crazy? This is my goddaughter. Of course it’s not true.”
Brindley has since produced other reports in which Jane herself has denied the allegations – even under pressure from the police. McDavid said the reports reinforced his belief that the allegations were untrue.
He also said that if the allegations of misconduct between Kelly and Jane were true, he was sure the police would come to Kelly and his team – but they didn’t.
McDavid also directly addressed Charles Freeman’s earlier testimony — calling it false. He mentioned that Freeman was known as the criminal who tried to blackmail Kelly.
Freeman testified that he was sent to retrieve the sex tape showing Kelly and agreed to do so for $1 million.
Asked why he didn’t report Freeman’s blackmail and extortion to police about the sex tape, McDavid said Margolis didn’t want word of the tape to get out because it could ruin Kelly’s career .
McDavid said he disagreed with Freeman’s plan to pay for the tapes, preferring to call the police. But McDavid said Margolis and private investigator Jack Palladino said he wasn’t gregarious and needed to move on.
McDavid testified that he was concerned that Freeman would come back over and over to make money, and that Freeman did. He said Freeman wanted a contract and got one, but said Kelly’s team never agreed to pay Freeman $1 million.
McDavid said Freeman later gave Palladino a tape, and Palladino told McDavid the quality of the tape was so poor that they couldn’t tell who the woman was in it.
McDavid said Kelly was very angry and “angry” about the allegations of the sex tape with Jane because he claimed the allegations were not true and was not scared or scared. By contrast, Kelly said there might be a sex tape of him and a grown woman.
McDavid said he called Margolis about the rumors, and Margolis said Kelly should meet with Jane’s parents and let them know about the rumors about the sex tapes so they wouldn’t be “put aside by the media.” Mike David also testified for the first time that Margolis told him he should hire a criminal lawyer.
McDavid said he arranged for Kelly and Jane and her parents to meet – McDavid said he did not attend. McDavid said after the meeting that Kelly was calm and a sense of relief, while McDavid said he still had no reason to disbelieve Kelly at the time.