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

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."

During the trial, several accusers gave lurid testimony. 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.

Monday's statement by Jacquelyn Kasulis, Acting U.S. attorney, was "To the victims of this case: your voices were heard"

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 pampered man-child at the trial. 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 "ball 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.

Kelly kept a gun at his side as he berated another of his accusers; Kelly gave several of his accusers herpes and didn't disclose that he had a STD; Kelly forced a teenager to have sex with a naked woman who emerged from under a garage boxing ring; Kelly filmed a shameful video of the victim, showing him smearing urine on her face for violating his rules.

There were 14 racketeering charges that were considered during the trial. The jury only found two of them "not proven." Kelly was accused of taking advantage her as an intern at a radio station in 2003.

She claimed that he took her to Chicago's recording studio and kept her locked up. He then drugged her before she fell asleep. She was terrified when she realized that she was being trapped. I was embarrassed. She said, "I was ashamed."

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, also known as Aaliyah Dana Haaughton, was a collaborator with Kelly. Kelly wrote and produced her debut album "Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number" in 1994. She was 22 years old when she died in a plane accident in 2001.

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 anyone not directly involved in Brooklyn's trial from the courtroom. Reporters and others who were not directly involved in the case had to view the proceedings from a separate room within the same building. However, a few people were allowed into the courtroom to witness the verdict.

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