R. Kelly's Crisis Manager Announces He's Stepping Down After Saying He 'Would Not' Leave His Daughter with the Singer
Darrell Johnson announced he was stepping down as R. Kelly's crisis manager hours after saying he "would not" leave his daughter alone with the singer
R. Kelly’s crisis manager, Darrell Johnson, announced he is no longer working for the musician amid his legal battles.
In a statement shared with CBS News on Monday night, Johnson said, “I step down as crisis manager for personal reasons. Mr. Kelly is in good hands with Mr. Greenberg.”
Steve Greenberg is the criminal defense attorney who heads Kelly’s legal team in Chicago, where the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer is currently being held without bond. On July 11, Kelly (né Robert Kelly) was arrested on federal charges including child pornography, racketeering and obstruction of justice — per two indictments out of Chicago and New York City — and will remain in custody as he awaits his Aug. 2 court date in N.Y.C.
Johnson’s announcement came just hours after he was asked by co-host Gayle King during an appearance on CBS This Morning whether or not he would leave his daughter, who is in her 20s, alone with Kelly, 52.
“Absolutely not,” Johnson said. “I would not leave my daughter with anyone that’s accused of being a pedophile. I would not.”
When King pointed out that his response could be seen as contradictory given his defense of R. Kelly, who has been accused of being a pedophile, Johnson reiterated, “I wouldn’t leave my daughter with anyone — I’m going to say it again — that’s accused of being a pedophile.”
During his appearance on CBS This Morning, Johnson also said his now-former client “is a mess right now” and that he’s “absolutely” concerned about his mental health.
Along with his most recent indictments, Kelly also faces a separate five-count indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. It includes charges of racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, which “prohibits transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution,” the New York Times previously reported.
The indictment, which was previously obtained by PEOPLE, stated that Kelly and his team — including managers, bodyguards and assistants — “traveled throughout the United States and abroad to perform at concert venues…and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly” as far back as 1999.
Kelly is alleged to have required the women under his watch to follow “numerous rules” in which they “were not permitted to leave their room without receiving permission, including to eat or go to the bathroom,” were “not permitted to look at other men” and “were required to call Kelly ‘Daddy,’” the documents claimed. The indictment also accused Kelly of “engaging in sexual activity with girls under 18 years old,” failing to disclose “a sexually transmitted disease Kelly had contracted” and producing child pornography by requesting underage girls send him photographs.
In addition, prosecutors alleged Kelly and his team “paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to victims and witnesses” to ensure they would not cooperate with law enforcement, the Associated Press reported. The Chicago indictment also accused Kelly of using physical abuse, violence and blackmail to “prevent victims from providing evidence to law enforcement.”
Last month, Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 felony sexual abuse counts after he was charged by Cook County prosecutors in Chicago in May. The charges included five counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, and they stemmed from one accuser who claimed Kelly abused her in 2009 and 2010 while she was underage.
In February, he was also hit with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four alleged victims, three of which were specially referred to as under the age of 17. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
An arrest warrant was issued for Kelly in February after the first charges were announced, and he surrendered to Chicago police hours later. Three days later, Kelly was released from jail after paying 10 percent of his $1 million bail amount, the Cook County Sheriff confirmed to PEOPLE at the time.
RELATED VIDEO: R. Kelly Arrested in Chicago on Federal Child Pornography Charges
In March, Kelly made headlines amid his legal trouble for an emotionally charged interview with King in which he broke down in tears as he denied the allegations facing him.
“Forget how you feel about me! Hate me if you want to, love me if you want, but use your common sense!” he told King during the CBS This Morning interview. “How stupid would it be for me with my crazy past and what I’ve been through to be like, ‘Oh right now, I think I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain ’em up in my basement and don’t let ’em eat and don’t let ’em out?’”