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Chicago Journalist Who Covered R. Kelly Refuses to Testify in Court

Jim DeRogatis' attorneys argue that the former Chicago Sun-Times reporter could face some harassment if he testifies.

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Photo: Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times (AP)

Remember R. Kelly? The disgraced signer is still on trial in Chicago on federal charges of child pornography, obstruction of justice and coercing minors into sex. But the once beloved R&B singer now has one less person to worry about after a music journalist, who covered the singer for decades, declared he won’t be testifying in court.

Jim DeRogatis, a former reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and author of the 2019 book “Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly,” was subpoenaed to testify in court on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. But DeRogatis is refusing to do so.

A court filing from DeRogatis’ attorneys argues that if he were to testify he could face some form of harassment or intimidation, citing that DeRogtis’ home was shot at after the former Sun-Times journalist did some reporting on Kelly, according to the Associated Press.

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From the Associated Press:

DeRogatis was a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times in the early 2000s when he anonymously received a video that he gave to police that helped lead to Kelly’s child pornography trial in 2008 in state court. Video evidence entered at that 2008 trial is also part of the current trial.

Lawyers for Kelly’s former business manager, Derrel McDavid, who with Kelly is charged with a conspiracy to rig that 2008 child pornography trial, subpoenaed DeRogatis to testify. Kelly’s lawyers also would be able to question DeRogatis if he takes the stand.

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McDavid, Kelly’s co-defendant in this federal child pornography child, will testify for the third day in a row on Friday for cross-examination, according to the Chicago Tribune. On Wednesday and Thursday, McDavid testified in his own defense. His testimony on Friday gives the prosecution a chance to question him.

Last week, as Kelly’s legal team began their defense of the R&B singer, Kelly opted not to take the stand after Judge Harry Leinenweber asked if he would.

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This federal trial comes weeks after Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on federal sex trafficking and racketeering charges in New York. Shortly after, he was moved to a federal jail in Chicago to face his child pornography charges.