R. Kelly trial nears conclusion, how Sunday’s rain pushed city’s sewers to limit and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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R Kelly Returns To Court For Hearing On Aggravated Sexual Abuse Charges

Closing arguments in singer R. Kelly’s federal trial on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges began Monday.

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune pool/Getty Images

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be cloudy with isolated showers and a high near 61 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and a low around 58. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy early then gradually become sunny with a high near 75.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

‘The hidden side of R. Kelly has come to light’: Closing arguments underway in trial

A federal prosecutor told jurors “the hidden side of R. Kelly has come to light” as closing arguments got underway Monday in the federal child pornography and obstruction-of-justice trial of the R&B superstar.

“The truth has come out,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo told the jury as she wrapped up her commentary Monday afternoon. “Find the defendants guilty of all counts in the indictment.”

Pozolo spoke to jurors for more than two hours before the trial broke for lunch. After the break, an attorney for Kelly co-defendant and former business manager Derrel McDavid is expected to argue.

The prosecutor kicked off the proceedings by focusing on a woman known to jurors as “Jane.” Now in her late 30s, Jane told jurors last month that Kelly sexually abused her repeatedly in the 1990s, starting when she was 14.

Pozolo said Kelly “used his position as Jane’s godfather to molest her.”

“He took advantage of Jane’s youth,” Pozolo said. “He repeatedly abused her. He performed degrading acts upon her for his own sick pleasure.”

Pozolo used part of her closing statement to address weaknesses in the feds’ case, which defense attorneys have sought to exploit. She called one key government witness, Charles Freeman, “disgraceful.”

Freeman testified that he helped hunt down incriminating videos of Kelly in the 2000s.

“You don’t have to like him,” Pozolo said of Freeman. But she told jurors to view his testimony “in light of all of the other evidence in this case.”

Andy Grimm and Jon Seidel have more from Chicago’s federal courthouse here.

More news you need

  1. The heavy rainfall rates that the Chicago area saw during yesterday’s storm resembled what one would expect to see in tropical weather conditions or even during a hurricane, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service told our Mitch Dudek and Manny Ramos. Here’s more on the wild downpour that left many streets and basements drowned in water.
  2. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke, in a surprise announcement, will step down from her position on Illinois’ top court effective Nov. 30. Burke’s retirement comes a year before her husband, Ald. Ed Burke, is scheduled to stand trial on federal racketeering charges.
  3. Michael Ferguson spent 12 years living on the streets, using heroin and crack cocaine. Now he travels the city, showing other addicts that it’s possible to get and stay clean. Ferguson spoke with our Stefano Esposito about his journey and efforts to help others.
  4. With the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns leaving Americans especially stressed out in recent years, astrology has become an increasingly popular way to find some momentary relief. Chicago-area psychics and mediums told WBEZ Chicago that they’re enjoying more cachet than any time since the 1970s.
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A bright one

The Doobie Brothers at 50: Still takin’ it to the streets

There is usually a gold standard for any 50th anniversary, though in the case of classic rock act The Doobie Brothers, they’ve already been gifted that milestone several times over.

Not only do the “Listen To the Music” hit-makers have 14 gold albums to their name, they also have 10 platinum or multi-platinum albums. And their “Best Of” collection nabbed a rare RIAA Diamond status.

So, for their big 5-0, the band is content to mark the occasion by doing what they do best — hitting the road.

The Doobie Brothers (from left): Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald and John McFee.

The Doobie Brothers (from left): Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald and John McFee.

Clay Patrick McBride

Ahead of the band’s stop at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday, the group spoke to Selena Fragassi for the Sun-Times about what fans can expect from the celebratory show.

“It really gives fans a great cross-section of everything the band has done, all the way up until last October, when we put out another album,” Tom Johnston, the group’s longtime guitarist/vocalist/songwriter, said. “They can hear all aspects and all eras of the band. And the crowds have really shown up, not only in numbers but enthusiasm, and that’s been awesome to see.”

Read Fragassi’s full story here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

How did the Bears’ season-opening, rain-soaked victory impact your expectations for this season?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: How would you describe a Bears tailgate at Soldier Field to someone who’s never been? Here’s what some of you said...

“A party in the parking lot with friends and family. Plenty of food and drinks to go around.” — Steve Price

“The game before the game! Sitting around with friends and making new ones grilling and having your favorite beverage.” — Tim Mustang

“It’s like a picnic in the park with 60,000 of your closest friends!!” — Ed Lins

“It is a must, if you go to a game. Everybody shares food, drinks, Mary Jane and laughs. The atmosphere will be missed when they move to Arlington. So, buy a ticket this season and you will see what I am talking about.” — Daniel Castorena Jr.

“We can’t even beat Green Bay at tailgating.” — Eric Q. Rosentreter

“When you could park next to the stadium it was a lot of fun. Now, good luck finding a spot where you can tailgate.” — Jason J. Sterczynski

“I would describe it as something I would never ever want to do in Arlington Heights.” — Robert Baader

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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