R&B star R. Kelly convicted in sex traficking trial

After decades of avoiding criminal liability for misconduct allegations with young girls, R. Kelly was convicted Monday in a sextrafficking trial.

R&B star R. Kelly convicted in sex traficking trial

After decades of avoiding criminal liability for misconduct allegations with young girls, R. Kelly was convicted Monday in a sextrafficking trial.

27 September 2021 Monday 17:01
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R&B star R. Kelly convicted in sex traficking trial

On the second day of deliberations, a jury made up seven men and five ladies found Kelly, 54 guilty of all nine charges, including racketeering. Kelly was seen wearing a black-rimmed mask and remained motionless, her eyes downcast as the verdict was read at Brooklyn's federal court.

Prosecutors claimed that Kelly's entourage of managers, aides and assistants helped keep the girls quiet and happy. In a separate federal case in Chicago, Kelly was also charged with two other people.

For crimes such as violating the Mann Act (anti-sex trafficking law which prohibits anyone from crossing state lines for "any immoral purpose"), he could spend decades in prison. His sentencing hearing is set for May 4.

Deveraux Cannick was Kelly's lawyer. He said that he was disappointed but hoped to appeal.

Cannick stated, "I think I'm even less disappointed that the government brought this case in the first instance, given all of the inconsistencies."

Several of the accusers gave lurid testimony during the trial. They claimed Kelly made them subject to perverse and sadistic whims while they were minors.

The allegations of inappropriate relationships between minors have been a source of amusement for years. This began with Kelly's illegal marriage with the R&B phenom Aaliyah at the age 15

His albums and tickets to concerts continued to sell. His songs were recorded by other artists even after he was arrested for sexually abusing and urinating upon a 14-year old girl in 2002.

The widespread condemnation of Kelly was not triggered by a widely viewed documentary, "Surviving R. Kelly." made Kelly's case a symbol of the #MeToo era and provided voice for accusers who were wondering if their stories had been ignored before they were Black women.

"To the victims of this case, you were heard and justice was finally served," Jacquelyn Kasulis, Acting U.S. attorney, said Monday.

Gloria Allred, Gloria Allred's lawyer, stated outside the courthouse that Kelly is the worst of all the predators she has pursued -- Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein included -- "Mr. Kelly is the worst.

Several of Kelly's accusers did not use their real names at the trial to protect their privacy. Jurors were shown videos of Kelly performing sex acts that were homemade and which prosecutors claimed were not consensual.

Defense called the accusers "stalkers" and "groupies."

Kelly's lawyer Cannick questioned Kelly about why women continued to be in relationships with Kelly, even if they believed they were being exploited.

Cannick said to one witness, "You made a decision," adding that "You participated at your own will."

Kelly was born Robert Sylvester Kelly and has been held without bail since 2019. Kelly is not the only legal danger facing him. He has also pleaded not guilty in Minnesota and Illinois to sex-related offenses. The trial dates for these cases are still to be determined.

Prosecutors painted the singer as a control freak and a man-child. According to his accusers, he was to be called "Daddy" and expected to kiss and jump on him whenever he entered a room. They also said that he was a basketball hog and would only cheer for him in pickup basketball games.

They claimed they were given nondisclosure forms to sign and that they were subject to threats as well as punishments such as spankings for breaking what one called "Rob's Rules." Others said they believed the videotapes of them having sex were going to be used against them if it was revealed.

Other troubling scenes include Kelly keeping his gun at his side as he berated another of his accusers; Kelly giving herpes to several of his accusers, without disclosing that he had a STD; Kelly forcing a teenager to have sex with a naked woman who emerged from under a garage boxing ring; Kelly filming a shameful video of the alleged victim where she smeared fes on her face

One woman testified that Kelly had taken advantage of her as a radio station intern in 2003. This was some of the most disturbing testimony. She said that Kelly took her to Chicago's recording studio and drugged her before she was raped.

She was terrified when she realized she was trapped. I was embarrassed. She said, "I was ashamed."

She claimed that R. Kelly's employee warned her not to talk about the incident.

Kelly's relationship to Aaliyah was also a focus of other testimony. One witness described Kelly sexually abusing Aaliyah around 1993 when Aaliyah was just 13 or 14.

Jurors heard testimony about a fraud marriage scheme Kelly devised to protect himself after he was afraid he had conceived Aaliyah. Witnesses claimed that they were married in matching jogging outfits using a license that falsely listed her age as 18. He was 27 at the time.

Aaliyah Dana Haaughton was her full name. She worked with Kelly on the 1994 debut album "Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number". In 2001, she died in a plane accident.

Kelly was previously tried in Chicago in a case involving child pornography. He was acquitted in 2008.

In what U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly called a coronavirus precaution, she barred all persons not involved in the Brooklyn trial from the courtroom. Reporters and others were required to view the proceedings from another room within the same building.



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