CHICAGO - A onetime lead prosecutor on R. Kelly’s case in Chicago’s federal court used a private email account and fake name to engage in "surreptitious" communications with a prominent journalist, lawyers for a onetime Kelly worker have alleged.
The attorneys for Derrel McDavid made the claim in a six-page motion filed early Wednesday morning ahead of a pretrial conference in Kelly’s case. Kelly, McDavid and another former Kelly worker, Milton "June" Brown, are set to go to trial in less than two weeks, on Aug. 15.
McDavid lawyers Beau Brindley and Vadim Glozman claim the feds on Monday turned over copies of the email correspondence between Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull and Jim DeRogatis, a former Chicago Sun-Times journalist who first helped report on sexual abuse allegations against Kelly and in 2019 published a book about him titled "Soulless."
McDavid’s attorneys referred to DeRogatis as a "potential witness." DeRogatis had to take the stand during Kelly’s 2008 state-court child pornography trial in Cook County, though he cited his rights under the First and Fifth Amendments not to testify.
DeRogatis did not immediately comment Wednesday on the allegations made by Brindley and Glozman. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.
McDavid’s lawyers allege that Krull used the pseudonym Demetrius Slovenski and the username piedpiper312 to create an email account she then used to communicate with DeRogatis in April 2019. They wrote that DeRogatis provided Krull a copy of "Soulless," which had not yet been released.
Kelly’s federal indictment in Chicago was filed in July 2019.
The attorneys wrote that on April 16, 2019, Krull referenced an earlier conversation with DeRogatis that same day, but the attorneys said they’ve received no report detailing that conversation.
DeRogatis allegedly sent an email two weeks later asking if the book was any help and providing information about "a prominent ‘enabler’" that might have been a reference to McDavid, according to McDavid’s attorneys.
"The fact that this information was known to the government for years and only disclosed to the defense less than two weeks before the trial creates — at the very least — the appearance of impropriety, which needs to be investigated," Brindley and Glozman wrote.
Kelly has already been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using his fame to sexually abuse young fans in a scheme that went on for decades. A federal judge in New York handed down the sentence in June after Kelly’s conviction in a racketeering case there.
However, Kelly still faces serious child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in the separate case here in Chicago.
Prosecutors here say Kelly illegally thwarted the earlier 2008 trial in Cook County that ended in his acquittal. The feds allege he and McDavid agreed to intimidate, threaten, pressure and pay off witnesses in that case.