R. Kelly and his team allegedly offered a man $1 million to retrieve sex tapes of the singer assaulting a minor, according to Rolling Stone. Charles Freeman testified during Kelly’s Chicago trial on Tuesday (August 23) and the following day, the defense ripped him to shreds over the allegation.
Attorneys Jennifer Bonjean and Beau Brindley, who said Freeman received immunity for his testimony, focused on his inconsistencies when recalling certain events he previously spoke about in front of a Cook County grand jury and in an affidavit for a federal grand jury.
During Freeman’s 2019 testimony, they say he didn’t mention co-defendant Derrel McDavid being present during meetings concerning the tapes. Brindley pointed out Freeman conveniently added McDavid in places he initially said he wasn’t in attendance.
Bonjean, who was up next in the cross-examination, questioned Freeman about the lucrative deal he claims Kelly and his associates cut with him to retrieve the tapes. He said he and R. Kelly had been friends since 1991 and the R&B star was confident he could complete the request, “just like he hired you to get the job done,” Freeman said. Bonjean barked back, “I don’t break the law to get the job done. That’s the difference between you and me.”
Elsewhere during trial, Freeman claimed he didn’t know what was on the tape at the time, only that McDavid described it as a “performance tape,” and if Freeman retrieved it, “they would take care of me.”
In August 2001, Freeman signed a contract saying he’d get $100,000, plus expenses, if he collected the tapes. The defense shared a copy of the contract on a screen in the courtroom, which Freeman confirmed he signed. He also testified McDavid said he’d earn the $1 million, but the defense said there was no contract or evidence to support the $1 million was part of the deal.
The defense pointed out two settled lawsuits Freeman filed against Kelly, with McDavid named as a co-defendant in one. He was also asked about his plans to hold a press conference around the time of Kelly’s 2008 trial, which he later canceled when McDavid allegedly gave him another $150,000.
Freeman testified he had copies of the tape as recently as 2019 and only turned them over to the authorities through his lawyer once he learned the police were investigation his connection to Kelly. When asked why he didn’t turn them over in 2001, Freeman replied, “Because the police wasn’t going to pay me a million dollars.”
Kelly is facing multiple charges of coercing five minors into sex acts as well as several charges related to producing child pornography. Kelly, McDavid and fellow co-defendant Milton Brown have all pleaded not guilty.