On Monday, Singer R. Kelly was found guilty of leading a decades-long scheme to recruit women and underage girls for sex in New York. According to the New York Times, the jury declaring him guilty of all nine counts of the racketeering and sex-trafficking charges against him.
After beginning its nine hour of deliberations Friday afternoon, the jury convicted Kelly of racketeering and eight violations of an anti-sex trafficking law in federal court in Brooklyn. An attorney for Kelly told CNN they are considering filing an appeal and are disappointed in the verdict.
As the verdict was read the singer sat motionless as his facial expression was obscured by a mask, in the courtroom. The verdict comes 13 years after Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in Illinois. In the New York trial that began Aug. 18, Kelly faced federal counts of human trafficking, racketeering, child pornography, kidnapping and forced labor. The former music star denied all allegations against him, and pleaded not guilty.
During closing statements on Wednesday, federal prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes stated that R. Kelly used his fame to take advantage of underage girls and boys, as well as young women, characterizing the R&B singer as a predator. Over the course of the five-week trial, the prosecution brought nine women and two men to the stand to tell their accounts of Kelly’s sexual, physical and mental abuse, along with 34 witnesses, including former employees of Kelly.
In one of the most explosive moments during testimony, a witness alleged that they had seen Kelly sexually abusing late R&B star Aaliyah in 1993, when she was only 13 or 14, according to the AP. That same witness also testified that Kelly began to sexually abuse her when she was 15. The defense presented four character witnesses, including former employees, an audio engineer and an accountant, the latter of whom testified about the structure of Kelly’s company, RSK, as demonstrated by an illustration of an octopus and its tentacles.
This is the first of several cases against R. Kelly, as he faces charges in several states, including Illinois and Minnesota. Kelly’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4, 2022
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