LOS ANGELES — R&B singer R Kelly and “Empire” co-star Jussie Smollett are facing mounting legal troubles for alleged crimes that have landed both men in court and experts and common citizens are weighing in on the problems the two face.
Margena Carter, a licensed psychotherapist and founder and CEO of Carter Care Therapeutic Services, said that both men have exhibited disturbing and deep psychological behavior.
Compton community activist Mollie Bell said she is hoping that the public will withhold judgment until both men are tried. Attorney LeGrand H. Clegg II, retired city attorney for the city of Compton, agreed.
“As black people, we have to be careful about evidence that can be used against us,” Clegg said. “Both men are entitled to their day in court.”
Kelly has been accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing underage girls, accusations that extend back to the early 1990s. In 2002, he was indicted on 13 counts of child pornography, but was acquitted of all charges in 2008.
Last month, Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Three sex tapes of the singer have surfaced in recent months that allegedly depict Kelly having sexual relations with young girls, even though Kelly denies that the man in the videos is actually him.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was featured in a recent documentary titled “Surviving R Kelly” that aired on the Lifetime channel where numerous women confessed that they had been victims of sexual abuse committed by Kelly.
That was followed by a recent explosive interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning,” where Kelly came to his own defense and cried and ranted over the mounting sexual abuse charges, claiming that they are totally false.
At one point, Kelly, who was recently bailed out of jail for non-payment of over $161,000 in child support, jumped up from his chair with tears running down his face to profess his innocence.
RCA Records recently dropped him from its roster in light of the allegations.
“Kelly appears to have a narcissistic personality and shows signs of being a sociopath, which is someone who is devoid of remorse and care for others,” Carter said. “During those interviews, he was playing the victim even though he is actually the perpetrator.”
Carter also claimed that Kelly is a pedophile.
“Kelly is fueled by having sexual desires for prepubescent children and it is a mental illness that cannot be cured,” she said. “It can be managed through medicine to decrease the libido, but pedophilia is a lifelong condition. That is why pedophiles must register as sex offenders.”
“The evidence certainly suggests that he is guilty of the claims made by the victims,” Clegg said. “However, the public should hold judgment until after Kelly is tried.”
Pausing, he added, “The [legal] system says that you are innocent until proven guilty as everyone knows. We should be careful not to try people in the media.”
Bell agreed and observed that people are too quick to judge both men.
“We should let the legal process proceed for Kelly and Smollett,” she said. “They are being held up as the poster boys for these alleged crimes, but what about Elvis Presley, Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski and the many Catholic priests who have not been put under the legal lens? We should hold judgment against our brothers until they go through the legal system — and yes, they are our brothers.”
Smollett is being held on 16 felony counts of filing a false police report that accuse him of lying to Chicago police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two masked men in downtown Chicago. Police allege that Smollett staged the Jan. 29 attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted more money.
It is alleged that Smollett enlisted the help of two Nigerian brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, ages 25 and 27, to stage the attack, where a noose was placed around his neck and he was doused with a substance that included Clorox.
Smollett, who is gay, sat down with Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” to claim that the perpetrators that attacked him were white and shouted “This is MAGA country!” before they fled.
Smollett shed tears during the interview, but Carter observed, “The tears from the interview could have been tears from remorse or guilt for staging such a heinous act.”
Pausing, she added, “He used filler words during his interview, such as ‘um,’ which is a way to pause the interview so that he can think of what he is going to say next.”
A grand jury indicted 36-year-old Smollett last week on 16 felony counts accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two masked men as he was leaving a Subway store at 2 a.m.
The “Empire” actor is free on $100,000 bond and a judge will be assigned over his case. Smollett is facing a maximum sentence of 48 years behind bars and fines of up to $400,000.
“Smollett is dealing with deep psychological turmoil, deeper than he even realizes,” Carter said. “If he staged the attacks, he is doing a disservice to people who are truly being victimized.”
Pausing, she said, “He is in the limelight and he knows how to pull on the heartstrings of the very people he is supposedly protecting by instigating such a horrific attack. He can use people’s sympathy to his advantage.”
“Smollett has passionately insisted that the incident that he related occurred just as he said it did,” Clegg said. “On the other hand, the Chicago Police Department has presented facts contradicting his position. Let us wait and see what the evidence finally reveals.”
Bell observed, “Perhaps Kelly and Smollett need help and therapy, but after 400 years of slavery, don’t we all?”