In closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told jurors that evidence of Russell’s guilt was overwhelming.
She said phone records proved that a call to the small theater came from Russell’s Chicago home after he’d spent the day trying to stop Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly series from being shown. The effort included nine calls to the theater and a threat to sue, the prosecutor said.
She said Russell notified a co-conspirator in the movie theater with a text that the police may be coming to the venue shortly and later asked her to delete the text, although she never did.
The jury rejected the conspiracy charge, saying in a note to Judge Paul G. Gardephe shortly before the verdict was announced that some jurors did not believe there was proof that the alleged co-conspirator was aware of Russell’s plan to threaten violence.
Pomerantz said Russell was motivated by a desire to keep income flowing from the lucrative career of Kelly, a Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling songwriter.
Kelly, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison last month, was convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking.
Defense attorney Michael Freeman argued in his closing that there was not enough evidence to prove guilt.
“He went and called in a threat to make money from R. Kelly? Where’s the evidence of that?” Freeman asked. “Where’s the evidence? Where’s the proof?”
He predicted prosecutors would continue to mention Kelly’s name in their arguments.
“The case isn’t about R. Kelly,” he said