R&B heavyweight R. Kelly has been acquitted of child pornography charges Friday, marking an end to his six-year ordeal which began in 2002.
The jury deliberated on the case for almost 8 hours before finding the 41-year-old singer/songwriter innocent on all 14 counts.
Real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, he was accused in 2002 of having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, who is now 23, after a graphic video was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times. Kelly and the girl both denied they were the ones on the film.
The jurors said that the case weakened when neither the alleged victim nor her parents testified. The month-long trial focused on whether the singer was the one on the tape and whether the girl with him was underage.
His publicist Allen Mayer said in a statement, "Robert said all along that he believed in our system and he believed in God - and that when all the facts came out in court, he would be cleared of these terrible charges. But he never dreamed it would take six and a half years. This has been a terrible ordeal for him and his family and at this point all he wants to do is move forward and put it behind him."
An onlooker said Kelly looked relieved when the verdict was heard. He did not speak to the media after the trial but he hugged fans out side the courtroom.