Disgraced R&B superstar R Kelly was indicted Monday in a sex trafficking trial after decades of evading criminal responsibility for multiple charges of mistreatment of young women and children.
The jury found Kelly guilty of racketeering on the second day of deliberation. He faces a sentence of 10 years to a possible life in prison.
Kelly remained calm and silent as the foreperson delivered the jury’s verdict to Judge Ann Donnelly.
The allegations were based on an argument that the crew of managers and associates who helped the singer meet the girls – and kept them obedient and calm – amounted to a criminal enterprise.
A jury of seven men and five women found the case Friday afternoon, and hours into deliberation, they sent a note to the judge asking him to review testimony and a transcript of evidence about a woman who had Claimed that Kelly sexually assaulted her in 2003. The 21-year-old was a radio station intern.
He testified that he had been confined to a recording studio for several days and had been given narcotics prior to the attack.
The 54-year-old singer is accused of running a Chicago-based criminal enterprise that recruited its accusers of unwanted sex and mental agony.
Eyewitnesses said that Kelly subjected them to perverted and tragic whims when they were young. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Several of the accused testified in vague detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to perverted and sadistic whims at an early age.
Kelly was also convicted of criminal charges accusing him of violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone “for any immoral purpose” across state lines.
Kelly’s attorney, Deveraux Canick, said he was disappointed with the verdict. “I think I am even more disappointed that the government, given all the discrepancies, brought the matter up in the first place,” Canick said.
“Kelly believed that music, fame, and celebrity meant he could do what he wanted,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Shihata said in a scathing rebuttal of the defense’s closing argument in federal court.
“He’s not a genius, he’s a criminal,” she said. “A hunter.”
He said his alleged victims “are not groups or gold diggers. They are humans.”
For years, the public and news media seemed more than happy to be intimidated by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors, starting with Kelly’s illicit marriage to R&B phenom Aaliyah in 1994, when she was just 15 years old. Was.
His records and concert tickets continued to be sold. Other artists continued to record her songs even after she was arrested in 2002 and accused of sexually abusing and urinating a 14-year-old girl.
Widespread public condemnation not until the widely viewed documentary alive r kelly helped make her case an indicator of the #MeToo era, and gave voice to accusers who wondered whether their stories were previously ignored because they were black women.
At trial, several of Kelly’s accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy and to prevent potential harassment by the singer’s fans. Juries were shown homemade videos of Kelly engaging in sex acts, which prosecutors said were not consensual.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Kelly was a serial abuser who “maintained control over these victims by using every trick in the hunter handbook.”
The defense dubbed the accusers a “group” and a “hunter”.
Canick questioned why the alleged victims stayed in a relationship with Kelly if they felt they were being exploited.
“You made a choice,” Canick told a woman who testified, “you parted with your own will.”
Born as Robert Sylvester Kelly, Kelly has been in jail without bail since 2019. The trial was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and Kelly’s last-minute shakeup from his legal team.
When it finally debuted on August 18, prosecutors portrayed the 54-year-old singer as a pampered and control freak. His accusers said that they were under orders to call him “daddy,” expected to jump and kiss him whenever they walked into a room, and when he played pickup basketball games, in which he said he There was a ball hog.
The accusers alleged that they were also ordered to sign non-disclosure forms and subjected to threats and punishments such as violent beatings if they were referred to as “Rob’s Law”. Some said they believed the videotape they had shot would be used against them if they uncovered what was happening.
Among other more disturbing scenes: Kelly keeping a gun by his side while he reprimanded one of his accusers as a prelude to forcing him to perform oral sex in a Los Angeles music studio; Kelly has been giving shingles to several alleged victims without telling them they have STDs; Kelly forced a teenage boy to have sex with a naked girl who came out from under a boxing ring in his garage; And Kelly shot an embarrassing video of an alleged victim showing feces on her face as punishment for breaking her rules.
Some of the most painful testimony came from a woman who said Kelly took advantage of her in 2003 when she was an unsuspecting radio station intern. He testified that he took her to his Chicago recording studio, where she was held and drugged, before sexually assaulting her during his exit.
When she realized she was trapped, “I was scared. I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed,” she said.
She said that one of R. Kelly’s employees had warned her to keep her mouth shut about what had happened.
Other testimony focused on Kelly’s relationship with Aaliyah. One of the last witnesses to see him sexually abused was around 1993, when Aaliyah was only 13 or 14 years old.
The jury members also heard the testimony of the fake marriage plan…