Singer R Kelly, who ruled the world of R&B music for years, was found guilty on Monday Being the mastermind of a decades-old scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex.
After nine hours of deliberation, a jury in the singer’s criminal trial in federal court in Brooklyn began deliberations Friday afternoon, finding her guilty of racketeering and eight violations of the anti-sex trafficking law.
The high-profile trial was the first of the Me Too-era where a large number of black women were among the defendants’ accusers, and the trial was viewed as a test of the inclusiveness of the wider movement to hold powerful men responsible for sexual misconduct. was seen in .
For Mr Kelly, the verdict represents the first criminal outcome after decades of murmurs and allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct.
Mr Kelly, once one of popular music’s biggest names, now faces the prospect of life in prison, a remarkable reversal of fate. As the verdict was pronounced, he sat motionless in the courtroom, wearing a dark blue suit and glasses, with a facial expression hidden behind a mask.
His sentencing hearing is to be held on May 4.
Mr Kelly once escaped criminal conviction in 2008, when he was acquitted on 14 counts in a highly publicized child pornography case that, in the minds of many observers, was hovering over the York trial. But federal prosecutors in Brooklyn made a much stronger case against him this time.
This belief is likely to further undermine the broader public image that Mr. Kelly enjoyed as a charismatic and genre-redefining songwriter in the early 2000s. The personality began to fall in the public eye as his conduct came under fresh scrutiny at the height of the MeToo movement.
During the six-week trial, prosecutors described an ecosystem of suffering and abuse, with evidence dating from recent years to 1991.
Prosecutors called about four dozen witnesses who testified to how the singer’s public persona as an infectiously charismatic virtuoso disguised a calculated and controlled stalker. Witnesses included nine women and two men who accused Mr. Kelly of abuse or other misconduct, and eight of Mr. Kelly’s former employees.
Singer’s lawyers, noting minor changes in aspects of the witnesses’ stories over time, tried to convince jurors that any sexual activity involving him and his accusers was consensual and fabricated accounts of abuse and misconduct. had gone. The defense team tried to portray Mr. Kelly as a benevolent romantic partner who treated the women around him as family and was blinded by their accusations.
But the seven men and five women on the jury eventually sided with the government.