R. Kelly’s defense team put their case to rest Wednesday morning, but it is unknown when a verdict could be delivered in the singer’s long-awaited sex-trafficking and racketeering trial.
The closing debate is set to begin Wednesday afternoon, beginning with the prosecution team from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, but there could be at least one more day for the jury to begin deliberations. Closing arguments in federal trials can last longer; Neither side has offered a ballpark estimate of how much time they need, but each could take hours, followed by a rebuttal.
For prosecutors, the closing is a chance to pull together weeks of witness testimony into a coherent narrative, and to argue that the evidence they presented points in only one logical direction: crime.
Mr. Kelly’s lawyers, in turn, would present their own narrative, revisit the apparent holes and inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses, cast doubt on the motives of Mr. Kelly’s accusers, and seek to undermine the government’s case. .
Following the closing, U.S. District Judge N. M. Donnelly will instruct the jury how to deliberate on Mr. Kelly’s nine counts – one racketeering count and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, an anti-sex trafficking law.
Jury directions may sound dry, but the judge’s words to the jury when he gives them the case are important, and they are often carefully prosecuted. For example, in recent times, R. Kelly’s attorneys and federal prosecutors have gone back and forth in court filings about how they want judges to interpret the specifics of the Donnelly racketeering allegation, and about a possible defense of Mr. Kelly’s underage abuse claims. Tell me. Girls.
Judge Donnelly has said he expects the jury to have the case by the end of the week.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Old courthouse “wisdom” sometimes assumes that lengthy trials lead to lengthy jury deliberations, but in at least one recent case in Brooklyn federal court, it didn’t: The 2019 Racketeering and Sex of Nxivm Sex founder Keith Raniere -Trafficking trial Creed, lasted six weeks – and the jury found him guilty in less than a day.
Courthouse gadflies also like to say that the longer the deliberation, the better the outlook for defendants.