R. Kelly’s ex-business manager wants $850,000 in attorneys’ fees after acquittal

Credit: Sun-Times Media Wire

R. Kelly’s former business manager is asking a federal judge to award him $850,000 in attorneys’ fees after his acquittal last month on charges that he helped the singer illegally rig his 2008 child-pornography trial.

Derrel McDavid rang up that six-figure bill while "defending his freedom," lawyer Beau Brindley argued. He said $600,000 of that is still outstanding, and McDavid "must now liquidate real property and other assets in an attempt to pay."

"Mr. McDavid’s life was unalterably changed by the frivolous, vexatious, and bad faith prosecution over which he prevailed," Brindley told U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber in an 18-page motion filed late Monday.

A federal jury last month convicted Kelly on three child-pornography counts and three counts of enticing minors into criminal sexual activity. However, it rejected allegations that Kelly conspired to thwart his earlier 2008 trial in Cook County, as well as the claim Kelly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a frantic hunt for incriminating videos amounting to child pornography.

McDavid and another former Kelly employee, Milton "June" Brown, also faced conspiracy charges and went to trial alongside the singer. The jury acquitted McDavid and Brown.

Kelly’s sentencing has been set for Feb. 23.


McDavid’s defense team aggressively challenged the feds’ case during the trial, and McDavid spent more than two days on the witness stand. In his motion Monday, Brindley also seemed to take some credit for helping Kelly avoid conviction on additional charges.

"The jury even acquitted Robert Kelly of more than half of the charges levied against him, in large part, based on the lies and falsehoods exposed by Mr. McDavid’s vigorous defense," Brindley wrote.

The lawyer argued that government witnesses Lisa Van Allen and Charles Freeman contradicted each other and themselves. Van Allen is a former Kelly girlfriend, and Freeman said he helped hunt down videos for Kelly. Brindley also wrote that prosecutors "told the jury a story that had to be false based on the collective testimony of its witnesses."

"These witnesses provided the essence of the case against Mr. McDavid," Brindley wrote. "And the government knew their combined testimony was necessarily incoherent. This is, by definition, a reckless disregard for the truth, which constitutes a frivolous and vexatious position by the government. This entitles Mr. McDavid to reasonable attorney’s fees."

Brindley wrote that he worked on the case for 80 hours per week in the two months leading up to the trial, and 100 hours per week during the trial, which lasted nearly five weeks. He also said he spent more than 500 hours reviewing evidence, and he pointed to a "reasonable market rate" of $750 per hour. He also noted that the office of defense attorney Vadim Glozman "worked hand in hand" with his law office.

As a result, Brindley argued that a "conservative estimate" of 1,220 hours at a rate of $696.72 an hour is "imminently reasonable."