R&B singer R Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trial

R&B singer R Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trial

R&B superstar R Kelly has been convicted in a sex trafficking trial in the United States after decades of evasion of criminal responsibility for numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children.
A jury of seven men and five women on Monday declared Kelly, 54, guilty of all nine counts, including racketeering, on their second day of deliberations.

Kelly wore a face mask under black-rimmed glasses and stood still with downcast eyes as the verdict was read in federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors alleged that the entourage of managers and assistants who helped Kelly meet girls – and keep them obedient and silent – amounted to a criminal enterprise. Two people have been charged with Kelly in a separate federal case pending in Chicago.

He faces decades in prison for crimes including violating Mann’s Law, an anti-sex trafficking law that prohibits anyone from crossing state borders “for immoral purposes.” Judgment is scheduled for May 4.

One of Kelly’s attorneys, Deveraux Cannick, said he was disappointed and hoped to appeal. “I think I’m even more disappointed that the government brought it up in the first place, given all the inconsistencies,” Cannick said.

Several accusers testified in detail during the trial, alleging that Kelly subjected them to evil and sadistic whims when they were minors.

For years, the public and the media seemed more amused than horrified by allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors, starting with Kelly’s illegal marriage to R&B phenomenon Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15 years old. .

His records and concert tickets continued to sell. Other artists continued to record his songs, even after he was arrested in 2002 and charged with making a recording of himself sexually abusing and urinating on a 14-year-old girl.

Widespread public condemnation didn’t come until a widely watched docusery called Surviving R. Kelly, helped make his case a signifier of the #MeToo era. This gave voice to the accusers who wondered if their stories were previously being ignored because they were black women.

“To the victims in this case, your voices have been heard and justice has finally been served,” acting US lawyer Jacquelyn Kasulis said on Monday.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer for some of Kelly’s accusers, said in court that “Mr. Kelly is the worst” of all the predators she’s pursued – a list that includes Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein.

At trial, several of Kelly’s accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy. Jurors were shown homemade videos of Kelly engaging in sex acts that prosecutors said were not consensual. The defense called the accusers “groupies” and “stalkers”.

Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been jailed without bail since 2019. The New York affair is only part of the legal peril the singer faces. He also pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. The trial dates in these cases have not yet been set.


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