■ American songwriter and singer, R. Kelly, was found guilty in a sex trafficking trial after numerous allegations of misconduct with young women and children.
After second day of deliberations, the trial jury of seven men and five women convicted R. Kelly of racketeering, he remained immobile and his eyes downcast while the verdict was read.
During the Brooklyn trial, several accusers had testified in shocking detail, accusing R. Kelly of forcing them to perform perverted and humiliating acts when they were underage.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner was also found guilty of criminal counts accusing him of violating the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take anyone across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
At the trial, several of R. Kelly’s accusers testified without using their real names to protect their privacy and prevent possible harassment by the singer’s fans.
Members of the jury were shown homemade videos of R. Kelly engaging in sex acts that prosecutors said were not consensual.
Deveraux Cannick, the singer’s lawyer said he was disappointed by the verdict. The defence attorney questioned why the alleged victims stayed in relationships with R. Kelly if they thought they were being exploited.
“I think I’m even more disappointed the government brought the case in the first place given all the inconsistencies,” Cannick stated.
The Prosecuting Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Kelly was a serial abuser who “maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook.”
His accusers said they were under orders to call him “Daddy,” expected to jump and kiss him anytime he walked into a room, and to cheer only for him when he played pickup basketball games in which they said he was a ball hog.
The accusers declared that they also were ordered to sign nondisclosure forms and were subjected to threats and punishments such as violent spankings if they broke what one referred to as “Rob’s rules.”
Some said they believed the videotapes he shot of them having sex would be used against them if they exposed what was happening.
R. Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been jailed without bail since in 2019. The trial which finally began on August 18, was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and last-minute shakeup of his defence team.
R. Kelly was also accused of fraudulently marrying Aaliyah after he feared he had impregnated her when she was underage. He falsified license listing her age as 18; he was 27 at the time
Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, worked with R. Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.” She died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.
The New York case is only part of the legal peril facing the singer. He also has pleaded not guilty to sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. Trial dates in those cases have yet to be set.●