Disclaimer: This article contains references to allegations of sexual assault and abuse.
In his final argument in federal court, Kelly’s attorney, Deveraux Cannick, described the singer’s accusers as former fans and abandoned lovers, hoping to cash in on his fame with book deals and media appearances. – as in the 2019 documentary Surviving R Kelly.
“They monetize. They know what the game is. They survive because of R Kelly, ”Mr. Cannick said, citing the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as he pleaded with jurors to muster“ the courage ”singer.
“I told you about Dr. King and brave people for a reason,” said Mr. Cannick.
“Getting R Kelly convicted is big business, but more important is fairness. “
The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, vehemently denies the charges, which include one count of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting people across state borders for the purpose of prostitution.
Mr Cannick claimed Kelly treated his accusers “like gold,” taking them on shopping sprees that cost more than cars.
He dismissed Jerhonda Pace, the first accuser to testify against Kelly, as a “groupie, stalker extraordinary,” and said Kelly’s use of nondisclosure agreements was common in the entertainment industry.
Mr. Cannick urged jurors to use common sense, adding: “Someone’s life is at stake here. “
The defense called only a handful of witnesses over two days, while the prosecution called more than 45 in the previous six weeks of the trial.
Among the statements of the prosecution witnesses was that he had given one Herpes of a 17 year old girl “on purpose”, and that he sexually assaulted a teenager after asking him what he was ready to do to enter the music industry.
The 54-year-old singer refused to testify in his own defense, as is his right, as it would have exposed him to cross-examination by lawyers.
Mr Cannick spoke after Deputy US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes has finished his plea, which lasted about six hours, spread over two days.
Ms Geddes reviewed the testimony of dozens of accusers, former employers and others who spoke out against the singer.
Prosecutors described the singer, known for the 1996 Grammy-winning hit I Believe I Can Fly, as a violent predator who used his fame and charisma to deploy people who worked for him to attract underage women and girls. .
Ms Geddes said Kelly hid her crimes “in plain sight” by brandishing her “money and her public figure”.
After oral argument, jury deliberations can begin Friday, after U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly has instructed jurors on the law.
Kelly faces separate criminal charges in federal court in Chicago and state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.