Deerfield, IL – Prominent Chicago criminal defense attorney Ed Genson, R. Kelly’s first trial lawyer, has nothing to lose. Now 77-year-old, he’s fighting a battle he can’t beat — terminal bile duct cancer. His doctor gave him 90 days to live a year and a half ago, but somehow he’s holding on.
The Chicago Sun-Times spoke to Genson both before and after his former client’s explosive interview with CBS This Morning c0-host Gayle King. Like millions of others, he watched the embattled R&B star deny doing anything illegal with underage girls despite being arrested on 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse last month.
In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges, a case stretched out over six years by Genson’s defense team.
Considering Genson’s current condition, time is of the essence. “I can say whatever I want, but we’ve got to do it fast,” he said. “It would be nice to get it down so somebody knows besides me.”
Genson has his opinions on Kelly’s current situation, but he’s not entirely convinced he’s guilty this time around. The past? That’s a different story. Genson admits he took some extreme measures to stop Kelly from committing more crimes.
“He was guilty as hell!” Genson said. “I don’t think he’s done anything inappropriate for years. I’ll tell you a secret: I had him go to a doctor to get shots, libido-killing shots. That’s why he didn’t get arrested for anything else.”
In the wake of the CBS This morning interview, Genson was puzzled as to why Kelly did it in the first place.
“I’m trying to figure out why he did it,” he said. “I don’t know whether his lawyer is an idiot. He might be.”
Kelly’s new lawyer, Steven A. Greenberg, insisted he’s not trying to affect potential jurors.
“R. Kelly is a grown man who can respond to these allegations as he sees fit,” Greenberg said. “He didn’t talk about the charges, he didn’t talk about cases, he generalized allegations that he is some kind of monster running a cult. . . . This case is so far off in the future; who knows when a trial is going to be?
“I don’t think anyone is trying to tamper or influence the jury. This is not something being orchestrated as some kind of defense trick.”
Although Genson recognized Kelly’s songwriting talent, he said he’s “not a very bright person” and might’ve become too careless after beating his Florida case.
“What he doesn’t understand is this: If you win a case with somebody, they think they’re bulletproof,” Genson said. “You’re almost better off, sort of, losing. He thinks he can do whatever the hell he wants. He has done everything he can to hurt himself.”