R. Kelly found guilty on all nine charges in racketeering and sex trafficking trial
The jury deliberated for nine hours before finding R. Kelly guilty of sexual abuse
R. Kelly has been found guilty of all nine charges in his racketeering and sex trafficking federal trial.
The Brooklyn jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nine hours and returned their verdict on Monday, the New York Times reports. The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer was charged with eight counts of violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex-trafficking statute, and one count of racketeering.
Kelly pled not guilty to all the counts against him and chose not to testify in his own defense.
The jury went into deliberation on Friday following a six-week trial in which Kelly stood accused of being the mastermind of a scheme to recruit young girls and abuse them sexually and physically.
Kelly, 54, was described as not showing much emotion as the verdict was read. He is now facing a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. Sentencing will be on May 4, 2022.
The state was pleased by the outcome.
“To the victims in this case, your voices were heard and justice was finally served,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said.
Deveraux L. Cannick, an attorney for Kelly, blasted the verdict. The defense has long claimed Kelly is the actual victim of “groupies” and “stalkers” and all his relationships were consensual.
“Of course we are disappointed in the verdict,” Cannick said. “I am even more disappointed in the prosecution for bringing this case,” he said, and added it was “replete with inconsistencies.”
This was the second high-profile case against Kelly, who was acquitted in 2008 of 14 counts of child pornography. He found himself in legal jeopardy once more in 2019 when federal agents took him into custody on charges of sending child pornography across state lines, kidnapping, abuse, and forced labor.
The Brooklyn trial for the disgraced R&B superstar featured over 50 witnesses, including young women and a man who alleged that Kelly sexually abused them over the course of two decades.
The prosecution argued that Kelly was aided by his entourage, who helped facilitate the sexual abuse of women. Suzette Mayweather, who worked for Kelly as an assistant from 2015 to 2017, testified that she was tasked with keeping his underage victims in line.
Kelly would become enraged if his instructions were not followed, she testified.
“It was the first time that I had ever seen Rob really upset,” she said. “It wasn’t the tone. It was the look in his eyes.”
A male witness only identified as “Louis” testified that Kelly groomed him after meeting him at a Chicago’s McDonalds in 2006, theGrio previously reported. As other witnesses testified, “Louis” also said R. Kelly made him refer to him as “Daddy” and that he performed oral sex on him.
“As our relationship got stronger, he said I was like a brother. I was his little brother.”
Prosecutors accused Kelly of marrying an underage Aaliyah when she was 15 to prevent her from testifying against him in 1994, theGrio previously reported. The illegal marriage was annulled by her parents.
Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez claimed in court that Kelly believed Aaliyah was pregnant with his child and wanted to prevent legal consequences.
“So, the defendant and his circle came up with a plan, a plan that the defendant thought would keep Aaliyah from talking and a plan that would keep him out of jail if anyone found out,” Melendez said. “… The defendant decided that he needed to marry Aaliyah. That way, as far as he understood, if anyone found out about the pregnancy, about his sexual activity with her, Aaliyah could not talk. In other words, if she’s his wife, then she can’t testify against him, or so he thought.”
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