NEW ORLEANS -- Instead of finalizing a plea bargain as expected, accused rapist and ex-model Dean Kelly is now facing a bond revocation after prosecutors accused him of the same predatory activities that landed him in court two years ago.
Kelly, 42, was in court Thursday for an update on plea negotiations when the district attorney’s office filed a surprise motion to revoke Kelly’s $1 million property bond.
Kelly’s attorney, Frank DeSalvo, said he was blindsided when prosecutors accused his client of hosting college-age girls at a Mardi Gras party in which he allegedly plied them with booze, obtained their cell phone numbers, then later sent suggestive and harassing text messages.
“I know the allegations, but I don’t know the details,” DeSalvo said. “All I know is that this was a big family Mardi Gras party with a lot of people. If anything untoward happened, I think a lot more people than just the district attorney’s office would know about it.”
Kelly has been awaiting trial on two counts of forcible rape, kidnapping, pornography involving juveniles and carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Prosecutors had been negotiating a plea bargain, according to court records, and Thursday’s hearing was set to give an update on the talks.
Sources close to the case said discussions were held about Kelly pleading to the carnal knowledge charges in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges, but those negotiations could now be in jeopardy.
Kelly, who appeared in a 1994 Aerosmith music video, was accused by several young women of enticing them with promises of access to Hollywood-type parties and movie sets, then forcing himself on them.
Kelly’s case has been a running courtroom drama since his arrest in early 2011. What began as municipal charges against Kelly of contributing to the delinquency of minors escalated when a parade of new alleged victims came forward to lodge new accusations against Kelly, including rape and kidnapping.
That led to an earlier bond revocation that landed Kelly behind bars for almost a year while he awaited trial. During his time in Orleans Parish Prison, Kelly’s soap opera-like case featured a court appearance in which he collapsed, another court appearance in which he claimed he was beaten by other inmates and, finally, a contraband charge that was lodged when deputies allegedly found him in his cell with a metal pipe.
During one court hearing, prosecutors played recordings of Kelly’s jailhouse telephone calls with his new wife in which he expressed a desire to go to Mexico, which prosecutors said was evidence of Kelly being a flight risk. In other taped conversations, Kelly’s wife confronted him about emails to several college students.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro eventually transferred Kelly to state court on the more serious rape and kidnapping charges, but a judge later granted a $1 million bond that Kelly’s family covered by pledging their property as collateral.
Kelly was freed in August and appeared to be ready to finalize a plea deal when the Mardi Gras allegations surfaced.
DeSalvo said he will have more answers before Kelly's next scheduled court hearing on April 9, but he remains skeptical of the deja-vu inducing allegations.
“I think they (the new claims) are a stretch,” DeSalvo said.