R. Kelly found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering
R&B superstar R. Kelly was declared guilty on all charges against him on Monday after a more than monthlong sex trafficking trial during which numerous victims detailed the abuse they suffered at his hands.
A jury in Brooklyn found Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering, The New York Times first reported.
He faces the possibility of decades in prison.
During the trial, prosecutors brought forward more than four dozen witnesses, including nine women and four men, who accused the singer of abuse and misconduct.
Alleged victims of Kelly said he kept them isolated in hotel rooms, forced them to perform sexual acts and recorded them in order to keep control over them.
The verdict comes after nearly three decades of misconduct allegations, beginning in the 1990s when the then-27-year-old singer reportedly married R&B singer Aaliyah when she was only 15. The marriage was later reportedly annulled at her parents’ request.
During the trial in August, Kelly’s defense team confirmed that he had had sexual contact with Aaliyah.
Attention on Kelly’s misdeeds renewed in force in 2019, when the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” was released. The six-hour series delved into the numerous allegations, resulting in Kelly being dropped by his record label and concerts being canceled.
Just weeks after it aired, Kelly would be charged with multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Beginning in 2002, Kelly had been charged with numerous counts of making and owning child pornography. Those charges would later be dropped due to lack of evidence.
In 2017, allegations arose of Kelly harboring a “sex cult” of young women whose families accused him of “brainwashing” them, controlling what they ate, when they slept and how they dressed.
Kelly’s defense has characterized these women as scorned partners who were well taken care of financially and are now seeking retribution.
During closing arguments last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told the court, “It is now time to hold the defendant responsible for the pain he inflicted on each of his victims.”
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