R. Kelly’s crisis manager Darrell Johnson stepped down from his position on Monday night, just hours after he made statements seemingly suggesting that he would not leave his own daughter alone with Kelly.
“I step down as crisis manager for personal reasons,” Johnson confirmed to CBS News. He then added that Kelly is “in good hands with Mr. Greenberg,” presumably referring to Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg.
Johnson’s resignation comes just hours after he appeared on “CBS Good Morning” and said that he would not leave his own daughter, who is in her 20s, alone with “anybody that’s accused of pedophilia. Period.”
When pressed to comment on whether or not that statement referred to Kelly, Johnson replied, “I would not leave my daughter with anyone that's accused of being a pedophile. I would not.” He then reiterated that statement after host Gayle King pointed out that his position requires him to defend Kelly, a man who has been accused of victimizing multiple women and underage girls.
Johnson has since clarified his earlier statements, telling USA Today for a report published Monday that he meant to say, “I would leave my daughter with Kelly because I do not believe he is a pedophile.”
“I should have worded it better,” he told the outlet.
Greenberg confirmed Johnson’s resignation in a release issued Monday, thanking him for his “tireless assistance” and suggesting that Kelly’s defense team “looks forward to his return.”
“He shares our confidence that this is an unprecedented assault against R. Kelly by others, for their own personal gain, and in the innocence of R. Kelly,” the statement continued.
Kelly, who was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sex abuse in February, was arrested again earlier this month on federal sex crime charges. He pleaded not guilty plea to a 13-count indictment last week, and is currently being held without bond.
Johnson said during Monday’s interview that the 52-year-old singer, who may spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted, is currently a “mess.” He is “scared” and “isolated,” and may be on suicide watch, Johnson said.
“Nobody wants to be locked down for 24 hours, no TV,” he said. “He can’t read and write, so he can’t read a book. It’s almost like a jury has already convicted him.”
Kelly, who has repeatedly denied all sexual misconduct allegations against him, is set to appear in federal court in New York for an arraignment on Aug. 2, followed by a status hearing in Chicago's federal court on Sept. 4, according to CNN.
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